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2 6. sf§ 



Jtartttt ftutttr: 





2 Tim. iii. 1 . 





rt is blessed : but the name of tbc wicked shall rot. Pror. z. 7. 
3e being dead yet speaketb. Heb. xi. 4. 


UonHott : 

Crane Court, Fleet Street. 














llarttit nutbtt 







ihb, Elbgtob 9 Dukb or Saxon y,Mabquis 
Landgbatb ofThubinoa, his MOSTKinr» 


'dedicate dmr labours and the productions 
id to illustrious personages, and send than 
le world under the sanction of their names, 
t prudently and rightly ; because, by such 
f procure to their works both authority, and 
i against those aims of malignity which are 
evelled at them : for such is the state of hu- 
, that, the more excellent things are, the more 
posed to envy and to the sliaits of the male- 
hence it comes to pass, that laudable liteia- 
ill the productions of genius and erudition, 
without doubt some of the l>e*t of things, and 
thy the particular and serious attention of 
tot a little stand in need of their Mectrnus, 
ustus, and also of their Ulysses, who may 
'Thyrsitcs with his ivory sceptre. — And some 
ire the sanction of the names of illustrious 
S that they may thereby immortalize those 
d hand down to the record* of fame the indi- 
whom they make their dedication : with die 
posterity may be led to love their virtues, and 
may be animated by the examples thus held 
m in such praises. — Others again do it from 
e, that they may thereby express their thanks, 
n some degree make a return for l>cncfits re- 
ad leave behind them a testimony of their 


a those by whom they have been treated with 


But, most illustrious Prince, neither of these mo- 
tives answer my design. For, in the first place, I am 
aware that none of the productions which proceed 
from me, deserve a patron : and so far, it is a happiness 
that I know my deficiency. And, even if I could pro- 
duce that which should be worthy of the sanction of a 
patron's name, yet I should by no means be anxious to 
put it under a patron's protection. Nay, as soon as I 
learnt from the Holy Scriptures, how terror-filled and 
perilous a matter it was to preach publicly in the church 
of God, and to speak in the midst of those whom you 
know will one day be your judges, and that in the pre- 
sence of God the beholder of all things, in the sight of 
angels, and in the sight and hearing of all creatures, 
there was nothing that I so much desired as silence ; 
wishing also, that a sponge could deface all that ever I 
had in my poor foolish way published abroad. For it is 
a momentous and awe-striking matter to render an ac- 
count unto God even for every idle word. Nor does he 
now keep me in the ministry of the Word, but by an 
overruled obedience to a will above my own, that is, his 
divine will : for, as to my own will, it always shrunk 
from it, nor is it fully reconciled unto it to this hour. 

And, indeed, what fame, what praise, what eternal- 
izing of a name, can your most illustrious Highness 
hope from me ? being yourself such a Prince, who, not 
only by all those other endowments that exalt the 
Prince, but also by a distinguished love of learning and 
learned men, have procured to yourself that name and 
glory, that, instead of wanting an Appion to immor- 
talize your name, you yourself immortalize the name of 
an Appion, and of all who attempt to give you cele- 
brity ? Who is there that knows not, that Prince Fre- 
deric, has given an example to all princes, by his pa- 
tronage and promotion of literature ! Your Wittemberg 
now devotes itself to the Greek and the Hebrew with 
encouragement and profit. The arts are taught with 

S eater success than ever they were before. The true 
eology of Christ now triumphs : while the vain ima- 
ginations and disputations of men have no scope for 

thought or research. All these things flourish beneath 
your auspices, at your expense, and under your protec- 
tion. O that the ecclesiastical great ones, who ought 
themselves to be the foremost in showing forth examples 
in these things for the princes of the laity to imitate, 
would but imitate the examples that the laity thus show 
-But, such is the unhappily fallen state of the 
ecclesiastical power and opulence ! 

Ami again, why should I attempt to render you gra- 
titude for the abundant kindnesses you have heaped 
upon roe, when you have thrown them upon one who 
never deserved them. What cares, attentions, expenses, 
nd indeed, perils, did that monstrous production of 
nine cost your Highness which owed its birth to the in- 
lulgences ! The whole of your dominion knows, that my 
Prince showed a much greater concern for me, than I 
did for myself. I, in my usual daring way, cast the die, 
•eing always ready to attempt and to expect extremi- 
for I hoped, upon that occasion, that, if I should 
; removed from teaching others, I should rind out some 
r of the world into which I might retire, after I had 
t the public life, to which I was always averse. But 
: persevering endeavours of your Highness prevailed ; 
nd when I was willing to suffer those things which 
my enemies longed to inflict upon me, neither they nor 
1 had our will. 

But still, I am glad that such was the issue of 
latters, if it were only on this account: — there is not a 
Christian that ought not to feel a serious grief and 
oncem, that the impudence of a certain set of fellows 
>roceed9 to such a pitch of audacity in the church of 
.'hrist, that they presume to ensure themselves success 
in their filthy purposes and lusts, under cover of the 
venerable name and authority of the church. And the 
more kind, good, and learned the Pope happens to be, 
" a greater enormities these monsters promise to them- 
selves, by effecting them under the cloak of his autho- 
rity. For, with what numberless and manifest lies did 
they profane and defile the sacred name of Leo X. in 
this one tittle point, the indulgences, in order to terrify 

the conscience of one poor brother, and to establish 
their own horrible tyrannies ? — Though it is not a thing 
so much to be wondered at, that there should be found 
such characters to prostitute the name of the high 
Pope, and to abuse it: for the patriarchs of such 
fellows, that is, the false prophets, false apostles, and 
false christs, did the same ; who made the holy name of 
God and of Christ to serve their lies. — Of the holy 
name of that God and Lord, I say, even our Lord 
Jesus Christ ; whose are all those things which we ad- 
mire in you, most illustrious Prince ; and may he ac- 
knowledge, increase, and preserve the same to all eter- 
nity. — This prayer I offer up, which is all I can do, as 
a return for the favours I have received at your hands. 

Hence, the reason why I wished to send forth these 
my productions, such as they are, (for productions they 
certainly are, though I cannot find confidence enough 
to call them interpretations or commentaries, from a 
consciousness of my poor ability betrayed in them,) 
under the sanction of the name of your most illustrious 
Highness, was none other, than because I greatly love 

Jrou. For I am fully persuaded of the pure and chaste 
ove which your heart hath for the Holy Scriptures : 
and my heart (to use the words of Deborah) " is toward" 
such Princes. 

And why should I not here declare at full my 
thoughts concerning you, and the cause of this my love 
for you, that those who boast themselves in the holy 
Scriptures may see how far a hypocrite differs from a 
true theologian ?— My very good and reverend father in 
Christ, John Stupitius, tola me, upon a certain oc- 
casion, that once, while he was staying with your High- 
ness, the conversation turned upon those who preach 
publicly to the people ; and that, according to the won- 
derful penetration of your judgment, you said, * Those 
sermons which are made up of the cunning and tradi- 
tions of men, are but frigid things, and too weak and 
ineffectual to persuade us to our best interests ; for 
nothing of that kind can be brought forth so acute, 
that may not be subverted and rooted up by the 

e cunning. Dutthe Holy Scriptures carry with them 
3. hoiy oneness, which sounds in our ears with such force 
and majesty, even without any exertion of ours, that, leadi- 
ng captive and cutting up all the schemes of human 
cunning, it urges ana compels us to acknowledge 

Never man spake like this man." This is " the finger 
rf God," for " he teaches as one having authority, and 
*ot as the scribes and pharisees." With which senti- 
nents, when Stupitius willingly coincided, and expressed 
us commendation of them, he told me, that you put 
forth your hand and demanded his, and said, ' Promise 
ne, I pray thee, that thou wilt always think so.' 

And were not this sentiment and this request such as 
would become even a most holy and high Pope ? and 
"" s more so, as it may be clearly perceived, that they 

Te not only expressed in word, but accompanied with a 
feeling sense of heart P Can we not, then, clearly discern 

ho are the true theologians ? Let shame, therefore, 

■ize those theologians and lawyers especially, to whom 
; Holy Scriptures have become almost an object of ri- 

aile, and who, tacking to them their infinite glosses, 
peatllently torment those, (as Hieronymus says) who, in 
every thing they say, wish to appeal to the Word of 
God. As if Christ had said to Peter, ' command,' or 
* lav injunctions on,' or ' teach,' and not rather, "feed," 
my sheep : that is, deliver to them that which will feed 
them. And such are fed by the Word of God only, and 
not by the opinions and traditions of men. And more- 
over, that nothing so acute can be brought forward, (as 
yoo jusdy observed,) which may not be rebutted by the 
same human cunning, is abundantly shown us in that 
miserable workhouse, in which the disciples of Scotus, 
Thomas, Albertus, Modernus, and all those others who 
have their peculiar followers, squander away their time. 
1 confess, most illustrious Prince, that by this sweet 
accountofyou whichlheard,l waswhollycaptivatcd,and 
constrained to love you. For I know not how it is, but I 
cannot help loving all whom I hear to be lovers of the 
holy Scriptures; nor, on the other hand, hating those 
who are obstinate and despise them : so that, in each 



respect, from the force of my feelings, I am filled with 
vehemence, and, as certain of my good friends say of 
me, am severe and vain-glorious. But let them criminate 
me as they will : they may affix to me epithets both 
good and bad, of the first, second, or third kind, and 
impose them upon me, but they will never take away 
from me the grand essentials of theology, nor extinguish 
my love of them if Christ but continue to smile upon me. 
I know what scholastic theology dftl for me: I know 
also how much I owe to it : and 1 am glad that I am de- 
livered from it, and give thanks for my deliverance to 
Christ the Lord. I have no need that they should teach 
me what it is, for I know what it is already : nor is it of 
any service for them to endeavour to reconcile me unto 
it, for I will have nothing to do with it. 

Bear, therefore, most illustrious Prince, with my 
desiring to send forth this little work into the world 
with the name of your Highness affixed to it, and consi- 
der it as a token of my love. I now, for the second 
time, undertake the Exposition of the Psalms in your 
Wittemberg, being requested and urged so to do by my 
hearers, who are some of the best of men, and to whom 
I cannot deny that I am a debtor. But I so profess to 
undertake them, as being quite unwilling that any one 
should presume to expect that from me, which no one 
of the most holy and most learned of the fathers could 
ever yet pretend to, — that I should understand and 
teach the Psalms in all respects according to their real 
tense and meaning. It is enough that some men under- 
stand some parts of them. The Holy Spirit always re- 
serves much to himself, in order that he may keep us 
learners under him. Many things he only holds out in 
order to allure us on : and many things he delivers to us 
that they may work effectually in us. And, as Augus- 
tine has greatly remarked, * No man ever yet so spoke 
as to be understood by all in all things : ' which leaves 
that great truth the more manifest, that it is the Holy 
Ghost alone who has the understanding of all his own 

Wherefore, it becomes me candidly to confess, that 

know not whether or not mine is, to a certainty, t.._ 
ue meaning of the Psalms, though I nevertheless hold 
doubt, that what I have delivered is truth. For 
hat Augustine, Hieronymus, Atlianasius, Hilary, Cas- 
"lorus, and others, have said upon the Psalms, is truth, 
though it is sometimes very far indeed from the literal 
meaning. And thus, this second exposition which I have 
undertaken, is very different from my first. And indeed 
there is not one book of the whole Bible in which I have 
been so much exercised as in the Psalms : till at last I 
came to this opinion, — that no man's interpretation, 
provided it be a godly one, should be rejected, unless 
be that rejects it submit himself to the same law of re- 
taliation. One man may fall short in many things, and 
another in more. I may see many things which Augus- 
tine did not see. And I am persuaded that others will 
see many things which I do not see now. 

What course then remains for us to pursue, but that 
mutually assist each other, and pardon those who 
fail, knowing that we are liabte to fail ourselves? For 
let us not by any means follow the example of that 
■st detestable and most vile race of men, who, though 
they cannot themselves perform one single thing that 
deserves not to be exposed, yet, when they find the 
least imperfection of a hair's or straw's value in the pro- 
' ictions of another, immediately consider themselves 
worthy of being rewarded with all the triumphs of 
Poropey. I know it to be the most impudent height of 
lerity, for any one boldly to profess, that he under- 
ids any one book of the Scriptures fully in all its 
parts ! Nay, who will presume to maintain that he un- 
ierstands fully and perfectly any one single Psalm ? 
life is only a beginning, and a going on, and not a 
ummation. He rises the highest, who comes the 
est to the Holy Spirit. If I can touch the moon, I 
not immediately to imagine that I have touched 
the sun also: nor am I to look with disdain upon the 
esser stars. There are degrees in living and acting, and 
why not in understanding also? The apostle says, that 
axe "changed from glory to glory." And, to open my 


design plainly, — I only write for the service of those, 
who know not these things, but wish to know them : 
and therefore, it will be at least a satisfaction to me to 
reflect, that I have hereby engaged myself and my 
hearers in a better employment of mind, than if I had 
been adding new clouds of darkness, and fresh toads and 
flies of corruption, to the books of human opinions. 

This book of Psalms is, in my opinion, of a different 
nature from all the other books. For in the other 
books we are taught what we ought to do, both by pre- 
cept and example. But this book not only teaches us, 
but shows us in what way and manner we may do the 
Word, and imitate the examples it contains. For it is 
not in our power or strength to fulfil the law of God, or 
to imitate Christ : all we can do, is, to desire and pray 
that we might be able to do the Word, and imitate 
Christ's example; and, when we have gained some 
power so to do, to praise, and give thanks unto God. 
What else then is the Psaltry, but praying to, and 
praising of, God? that is, a book of hymns ? 

Therefore, the most gracious and blessed Spirit of 
God, the Father of his humble scholars, and the teacher of 
infants, well knowing that "we know not how to pray as 
we ought/' (as Paul saith,) in order to help our infirmi- 
ties, (like schoolmasters who compose letters or subjects 
for their pupils to write home to their parents,) has pre- 
pared for us in this book words and feeling sensations, 
in which we may converse with our heavenly Father, 
and pray unto him concerning those things which he 
has taught us in the other books are to be done and imi- 
tated ; that man may not want any thing that is neces- 
sary unto his eternal salvation. So great are the care of 
God over us, and his kindness to us ! — Who is blessed 
for ever. And in whom, may your most gracious High- 
ness live and prosper now and for evermore ! Amen. 

March 85, 1519. 




is the man that hath not walked in the 
counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, 
and hath not sat in the seat of pestilc?icc. 

1 here is a common inquiry among men concerning 
blessedness : and there is no one who does not wish 
thut things may go well with him, and does not dread 
the thought that things should go ill with him. And yet 
ail who have ever thus inquired have wandered from the 

owledge of trne blessedness : and they have wandered 
the most widely who have inquired with the greatest di- 
ligence: such as the philosophers: the greatest of whom 

ve placed true blessedness in virtue, or in the actions 
of virtue: whereby, having rendered themselves more 
unhappy than the rest, they have deprived themselves of 
the blessings both of this life and of that which is to 
come. Whereas, the commonalty, though their ideas 
were the more grossly mad, by making blessedness to 
consist in carnal pleasure, enjoyed at least the good of 
this life. 

This teacher, however, fetching his doctrine from 
heaven, detests all the devoted endeavours of men, and 
gives this only true definition of blessedness which is 


wholly unknown unto men : — that he is the " blessed " 
man who loves the law of God. It is, indeed, a short de- 
finition, but it contains a savour that is contrary to all 
human ideas, and especially to human wisdom. — But, 
. first of all, let as consider the grammatical signification 
of this passage, with respect to the Theology contained 
in it. 

In the Hebrew, the word "blessed" is a plural 
noun, ashre (blessednesses): that is, all blessednesses 
are the portion of that man who has not gone away, 
&c. As though it were said, ' All things are well 
with that man who, &c. Why do you hold any dispute? 
Why draw vain conclusions ? If a man has found that 
pearl of great price, to love the law of God and to be 
separate from the ungodly, all blessednesses belong to 
that man : but, if he does not find this jewel, he will 
seek for all blessednesses, but will never find one.' For 
as all things are pure unto the pure, so all things are 
lovely unto the loving, all things good unto the good : 
and, universally, such as thou art thyself, such is God 
himself unto thee, though he is not a creature. — He is 

Kirverse unto the perverse, and holy unto the holy, 
ence nothing can be good or saving unto him who is 
evil ; nothing sweet unto him unto whom the law of 
God is not sweet. 

It is well known that " to walk," and ' to go,' are used 
in the scripture mode of expression, figuratively, and are 
of the same signification, as to have to life and conver- 
sation. As in Psalm xv. 2, " He that walketh uprightly." 
And Psalm ci. 6, " He that walketh in a perfect way he 
shall serve me." And again, Rom. viii. 1, " There is no 
condemnation to them — who walk not after the flesh." 
The word " counsel" is without doubt here to be 
received as signifying decrees and doctrines : seeing that, 
no society of men exists without being formed and pre- 
served by decrees and laws. David, however, by this 
term strikes at the pride and reprobate temerity of the 
ungodly. First, because they will not humble them- 
selves so far as to walk in the law of the Lord, but rule 
themselves by their own counsel. And then, he calls it 

i <fiitingni.-hinu a mark of bles*cdnes* 
them. But David does not here say 
ic ungodly 'or 'Jo the error of the un- 
rfbre.hc admonishes us to guard with nJI 
:hc appearance of what is right, that the 
into an angel of light do not aedac* 
ss. And hr c ontra-t* the counsel of the 
aw of the Lord, that we may lcam to 
i m sheep'* clothing ; who are always 
rose! to all, to teach all, and to offer 
1, when they arc of all men the least 

It" man, who in the Hebrew is called 
lilary most rightly (Mined to be ' he 
T concerning God.* For ungodliness 
sin of unbelief, and is committed in 
he term has been variously translated, 

dWbNDI times. Do thou therefore al- 
tbese two to be contrary the one to the 
iod, and ungodlines*: even as also, the 
he counsel of men. For when we speak 
ingodlineu, we do not speak of actions 

: that is, of the fountain -spring of 
' he who is rightly taught concern 
do what is right, and show forth a good 
ust man fall even seven times a day, he 

bat the nngoidly rush wholly into evil 


Who are " sinners " we may plainly see ; for this is 
the outward man of the ungodly; but the counsel and 
the ungodly man that are hidden in the heart we see not. 
Here therefore, David is speaking of those works, actions, 
and ways which appear outwardly : and this he calls the 
" wa y>' because now, the counsel is supposed to have 
come forth into habit and practice, as they say, and 
because they here commit outwardly the evil which 
they imagined inwardly. But this " way," as I have ob- 
served, is for the most part of a better outward show 
than even that of the godly. For as to those grosser 
sinners, any one might easily beware of them without 
this admonition ; or at least, might know them. 

The term " stood," descriptively represents their 
obstinacy, stiff-neckedness ; wherein they harden them- 
selves and make their excuses in words of malice, 
having become incorrigible in their ungodliness, as con- 
sidering it to be godliness. For ' to stand,' in the figu- 
rative manner of scripture expression, signifies to be 
firm and fixed: as in Rom. xiv.4. " To his own master he 
standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up, for 
God is able to make him stand." Hence the word 
* column' is by the Hebrews derived from their verb to 
stand, as is the word ' statue' among the Latins. For 
this is the very self-excuse and self-hardening of the 
ungodly — their appearing to themselves to live rightly 
and to shine in the external show of works above all 

With respect to the term " seat," — to sit in the seat, 
is, to teach, to act the instructor and teacher : as in 
Matt, xxiii. 2. " The scribes sit in Moses' chair." So, to 
sit on a throne is to reign or act as king : as we fre- 
quently find it expressed in the Books of lungs. So also, 
to sit on a chair of state, signifies to act as ruler ; and, 
to sit on a tribunal, to act as judge. 

In respect of " pestilence," though the translation is 
not literal, yet it is very forcible. The word in the 
Hebrew is ' of the mockers,' or ' of the scornful.' But 
the scornful are they at whom he strikes in the Psalms 
under the terms l deceitful,' and 'false tongues;' as 


ID under a show of sound doctrine diffuse 

erroneous doctrine. For the p—tMimrft 

is not half so contagious as that of un* 

I among minds ; " Their word, (saith the 

m. ii.) will eat as doth a canker." And 

vise are called the health of the world, 

so these ungodly are rightly called the 

the world. And what mockery can he 

tkl, than to administer deadly poison unto 

i thirsting after the purity of the truth? 

berefoie, according to that usual ■■— f 

mgfrout the- church of distinguishing the 

m the evil by faith and walk, the former 

i the godly from the ungodly, the latter 

toners, here describes these two states, and 

b a third. For, after ungodliness has in- 

i inwardly in his thought*, and outwardly in 

ould have no farther to go, did it not rash 

aw others along with it into the same pcr- 

therefore, it is not contented in itself at the 

id in thought and wicked in life, unless it 

» ungodliness also. — So far, concerning the 

I part* 

s also is especially to be remarked in the 
-how wisely it omits to mention the names 
d persons. For this Psalm without doubt 
at the people of the Jews ; as tiie a|xjstlc 
the Jew first and also to the Greek.'* And 
We know that whut things soever the law 
ith to them who are under the law/* Yet 
i not say, * Blessed is the Jew/ or Blessed is 
i person : nor does he say, In the counsel of 
$, or of these or those certain {persons ; but 
44 Blessed is the man ;" and, " the counsel of the 
ind, " in the way of sinners ; % and also, " in the 
scornful ; " \\ hoc ver they may be, for there is 
of persons with God. 

is was highly necessary to be done, that the 
oil, as it is eternal, should apply to all ages of 
For although munucrs, pcfeou-, places, uiul 


customs, may vary in different times, yet both godliness 
and ungodliness are the same in all ages. Hence we 
see, that the prophets used the same scriptures against 
the false prophets, the apostles against the false apostles, 
and the true teachers against heretics, though they found 
not in those scriptures the names of the prophets, or the 
apostles, or the teachers, or their adversaries, but the 

nand ungodly described only, 
oreover, if any particular person were mentioned, 
then the rest would not believe that the evil which was 
spoken of belonged to them ; or, that the good which 
was spoken of belonged to them only. Even as the Jews 
apply to themselves, all the good that was spoken to the 
seed of Abraham and to Israel. At whom, first, this 
Psalm undoubtedly strikes, as I before observed. — 
Hence we also, after the example of the holy fathers, 
apply this Psalm to the generation in which we live ; or 
rather, we follow it while it leads us thereunto ; seeing 
that it goes before us arraigning all the ungodly ; and is 
rather round of us already doing this, than made by us 
to do it. 

Therefore, saith David, " Blessed is the man that 
hath not walked ; " that is, while there are so many mil- 
lions of the ungodly around us, that you may well say 
with Psalm xii. 1, " Help, Lord, for the godly man 
ceaseth, for the faithful fail from among the children of 
men." And as Micah also saith, chap. vii. " The good 
man is perished out of the earth, and there is none up- 
right among men." — And is he not a blessed man, and 
a man truly strong in the faith, who, in the midst of so 
great a multitude, does not walk in the broad way? 
who, moreover, suffers from the same, reproaches and 
many evils, and yet, does not so consent unto them as 
to walk with them? and who is not deceived by the 
most specious counsel of the ungodly, which might de- 
ceive the very elect ? It is a great thing not to be over- 
come by riches, pleasures, and honours : but, to over- 
come the specious righteousness and wisdom of the un- 
godly, which direct their attack most of all against 
pure faith, is the greatest of all victories ! 


elo remark, thai tbete words are the wank 


^ear to be. For, as I have already ob- 

m would imagine sach to be the «fodhr. 

|maks io the spirit ; and, in spirit, that is 

i the world considers to be the most godly ; 

devoid of faith ; as it is written in Cedes. 

lie wicked buried, who, while they Kvml, 

d «ne from the place of the holy, aad 

in toe dty as the doers of righteous work*.' 

halm xxxviL 35. ' I have seen the wkkrt 

edar in Lebanon.' These are awful things. 

lave thought to find ongodlinem here, and 

i! This Psalm does not only strike at the 

sinners, (for every man out of Christ is an 

v and a sinner,) but chiefly at those who 

sinners, — who, though they are ungodly, 

ywledge it, but all the while form to mem* 

msd to walk therein, and to follow after 

For David does not say, Bfceeed is dm 

a not walk an ungodly man, or, who does 

sinner ; but " in the coonsd of the un- 

" in the way of sinners ; " for such are not 

th being ungodly, but wish to be accounted 

d saints ; thus adding to their ungodliness 

ihow of godliness. 

thorn, think ye, he strikes in this our day? I 
to mention by name any particular persons, 
I split upon the implacable rock of some reli- 
>rie*ts or bishops. For such has ever been the 
godly men, that they will the least endure the 
od, but fill the world w ith martyrs ; and for 
ison, than because they imagine that they 
1 obedience unto (iod ; and thus, while they 
otend for godliness, they are all the while 
f accusing the truly godly of ungodliness, 
w thou, and be well assured, that those fie 
J at, who shine in ceremonies, rites, ud 
qus shows of godliness, and who measure 


their godliness by their garments, meats, times, and 
places, or, more especially, by their workings and pray- 
ings ; and. more particularly, those who, on account of 
their , observances, privileges, dignities, powers, and 
rights, divide themselves into implacable discords, and 
are ready to do and suffer any thing rather than humble 
themselves and yield to each other in mutual charity. 
And that these are the ungodly pointed at, you may 
conclude from this. — Such are secure and confident in 
their lives, and there is no fear of God before their eyes. 

And take this for an universal and infallible crite- 
rion, ftnd, (as they say) for a certain touchstone, — that 
the peculiar marks of the ungodly, are, not to fear 
God — to be secure of his mercy — and to presume in all 
things ! But on the contrary of the godly — to be afraid 
of all their works — to have no trust in their own righte- 
ousness — and to account all their holiness as dung! 
And therefore, the latter cannot contend for these things, 
nor justify nor vindicate themselves, but consider them- 
selves deserving the hatred and vengeance of all. Hence, 
as I said, we must have the eyes and ears of faith to hear 
these words of the Spirit, and to understand their mean- 
ing: for man of himself cannot understand them. 

Think not, however, that I condemn all holy cere- 
monies and good works. It is the false opinion, confi- 
dence, and devotedness that I call the pestilences ; for 
it is through these things, as we see, that men rush forth 
into gects, strifes, back bi tings, and infinite enormities of 
sin; all. which by the veil of their counsel, and the show 
of their doctrines, they cover over with the name of god- 
liness ; whereas, if all their works were done in humility, 
they would certainly be good. 

After they have violated faith by ungodliness, what 
can remain but that their works are evil, and sins ? But 
now thou wilt say, Can the works of Jews, of heretics, 
and of the proud, be evil, when they fast, pray, do good, 
and work all the rest of those things which ho man 
dares to call evil ? — I have said that faith is wanting ! 
Therefore, all those works are by so much the worse, 
because they confirm their ungodliness, and cause them 


i perseverse in this way of sin : and they a 
, because they proceed from the ungodliness of their 
■u. And, as saith the wise man, ' What truth will 
spoken by a liar, or what godliness will be done by 

Christ however has in these points given us excellent 
istruction, when he has taught us, that they are to be 
own by their fruits. And they have two sorts of works ; 
m hich lie calls sheep's clothing ; which are not their 
r truits, but feigned according to their counsel and 
But, when you touch them and oppose them, 
ehold, their proper fruits burst forth; wrath, 
■ur, pride, backbiting, evil-speaking, self-excusing, 
ivy. blasphemy, and the like enormities : nor can you 
■ gather other fruits from these thorns, than these 
irp thorns. And such, as you may see, are our 
work- mongers. 

And hath tut sat in the seat of pestilence. 

Vet this the Jews du, departing from Christ : under 
hose lips is the incurable poison of asps, and their vine 
■ the gall of dragons: for they must of necessity teach 
ontrary to Christ. These other heretics follow, under 
nother name and person indeed, but with the same 
tileuce of ungodliness. 
And, to come to our own times, they sit in the seat 
pestilence, who fill the church with the opinions of 
ilosophers, with the traditions of men, and with the 
h of their own brain, and oppress miserable con- 
», setting aside, all the while, the Word of God, 
,- which alone the soul is fed, lives, and is preserved. 
Whence it comes to pass, that men are ignorant of every 
ler righteousness but that which is obtained by works; 
whereas this is ungodliness and sin in the sight of God. 
For it is impossible that you can teach the works of any 
laws whatever without peril, unless, by the better doc- 
trine and the better labour, you first teach faith in Christ. 
□ the fifth to the Galatians Paul teaches faith; and iu the 
xth, life and conversation: and he does the same in his 
x Epistles. AndChristintheGospelrequiresfwthonly. 
c S 



But his will is in the law of the Lord, and in his law 
will he meditate day and night. 


See that thou distinguish (to tell thee once for all) 
the " law of the Lord" as widely and as differently as 
possible from all laws of men ; and take heed with all 
thy care, that by confusing all in one chaos, (as the 
teachers of pestilence do,) they do not miserably destroy 
thee ; while they attempt to make the traditions of men 
the law of God, and the law of God the traditions of 
men. Let me give thee an example or two of this. — The 
law of God is, " Honour thy father and thy mother." 
Out of this law the pharisees have made this tradition : 
* The gift which is brought to the altar is better than 
that which is given to the parents ; ' as you read Matt 
xv. Again : despising God in the true commandment, 
they honour him according to another commandment 
out of their own law, thus establishing a law for God. 
For the elders had said, ' Wash thine hands when thou 
eatest : ' and not to hear the elders is the same as not 
hearing God. Therefore saith Christ in the same chap- 
ter, " i e hypocrites ! well did Esaias prophecy con- 
cerning you, saying, This people honoureth me with 
their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain do 
they worship me, teaching for doctrines the command- 
ments of men/ 1 

Thus at this day matters are come to such a pass, 
that they daringly affirm, that the voice of the Popes 
and of the Roman council alone are to be heard with 
fear and trembling. When all the commands of God 
are at the same time laughed at, yea held in contempt : 
and not more so by any set of men than by those very 
characters who boast of the to-be-feared voice of the 

Ksat council. In a word, they have carried these most 
pious superstitions to that extremity, that mass-priests 

UUW4. ■» mi nil uut i Bin tiwameo u> 
:-r in the enumeration of thaw ridi- 
tthtch the inn**- prk-vt* nod other ro- 
e same kind terrify ihcir conscience*, 
.diilr, it' they have been lying under 
■rath, envy, covetoiisoess, and pride, 
•pace of inany yean together, and 
1, they feel nothing of it nliatcvcr. 
Jl " here, does not imply any power 
U signify Uut inert ha/tit unit-hour 
a have dragged into their diumty out 
: »ubveretoo of a Hum's true under - 
ripturcs : nor, again, does it signify 
ey say it atlurtii furih out of that 
) human lieing under heaven hussuch 
sra aignih><l : it nut bo given him 
lince die nature of man i§ intent on, 
as the divine authority uwerts (Geo. 
he law of God u " holy and just, and 
i; it follows, that the will of matt 
hales die law, and flees from the law, 
time from the fear of punishment, or 
si what is promised, it pretenda a low 
the natural hatred of tlic law still 
■)x can such n will love the Ian freely ; 
7 it benuiK- it b) good, but because it 
ome advantage. 
lerefore, here signified, is that delight 


Its way thfcragh poverty, evil report, the cross, -death, 
and hell, and, in the midst of adversities, shines the 
brightest. — And this " will " springs from faith in God 
through Jesus Christ. Whereas, that will which is ex- 
torted by the fear of punishment, is servile and violently 
forced : and that which is drawn forth by a desire after 
die reward, is mercenary and feigned. But this, is a 
free, spontaneous, and happy will. And hence it is that 
the people of Christ are railed in die Hebrew neda- 
~feoTH, that is, * spontaneous, voluntary, and free.' 

From all which things it is manifest, that this 
Psalm is to be understood of Christ only. He is the 
mark "and die coal to which the man that is " blessed " 
is to direct all his aims : for there is no one in this life 
who does not want something of this " will/ 1 on ac- 
count of the law and will in his members, which are 
contrary to it ; as die apostle saith (Rom. vii. 23) ; 
' which latter will, according to true theology, is to be 
crucified ; but which, according to philosophy, is to be 
accounted a virtue. 

To " meditate," as it is generally understood, signi- 
fies to discuss, to dispute; and its meaning is always, 
confined to a being employed in words : as in Psalm 
xxxvii. 30, " The mouth of the righteous shall meditate 
wisdom." Hence Augustine has, in his translation, 
• 4< shatter : n and a beautiful metaphor it is, — as chat- 
'teringis the employment of birds, so a continual con- 
verting in the law of die Lord, (for talking is peculiar to 
man,) ought to be the employment of man. — But I 
cannot worthily and fully set forth the gracious meaning 
and force of this word : for this ' meditating' consists 
first in an intent observing of the words of the law, and 
then in a comparing of the different scriptures : which is 
a certain delightful hunting, nay, rather a playing with 
stags in -a forest, where the Lord furnishes us with the 
fttftgs, and opens to us their secret coverts. And from 
dris kind of employment, there comes forth at length a 
m*n well instructed in the law of the Lord to speak 
unto the people. 

For insUtfrce: "Thou shalt not kill," if you pass it 

a frigid sentence: by 
r sound of its Irtrent, you merely 
t of mnrder is prohibited. Bat 
i little. It is not laid, Thy hand 
_ *hou shall not Mt-.ll. And what art 
wj ; nnd having many members and 
Mod, eyes, tongue, mind, will, Ac. 
on art forbidden to kill, art thou not 
to kill either with thy hand, or thy 
1 for which soever of these shall kill, 
lot- Therefore, we are not to be 
) wish evil, we are not to speak evil, 
Bniatc, we are not to turn away our 
tkspise, we arc not to injure, we are 
ft : hut, on the other hand, we are to 
good. What then U the purport of 
a shalt not kill? Whv this,— that 
bitter and angry with, t>ut kind and 
hour. Therefore, look into what the 
Cerning love, kindness, suavity, bene- 
ud tenderness ; and when thou hast 
•nil tlieni all, ha-t thou not then 
meditated in the taw of the Lord ? 
i " day and night," whether vou un- 
■Jly, or figuratively for assiduously, 
in adversity and prosperity, it mat- 
the righteous man, even when sleep- 
s upon the law of the Lord, 
n of this man that is " bleated," that 
i the law of the Lord. He will neither 
wr hate any created thing whatever, 
but will, by this " will," be entirely 
ings that arc created. What wonder 
such a man should be blessed, who, 
tli this heavenly will, has no taste 
mines by which the ignorant judges 
dashed to and fro. Moreover, as 
this his will now made one with the 
love always unites the lover and the 
must of necessity taste how good. 


•weet, and pure the holy and wonderful Word of God 
is, — that it is the greatest of all good ! But this they 
cannot taste, who have their hand or their tongue only 
in the law, while their will is immersed in the filth of the 
things of this world. For there are many prating ones 
who talk much about the law of the Lord, and pretend 
much and think much about it, but who do not vet love 
it. But David does not say, Blessed is the man whose 
tongue is in the law of the Lord, nor whose hand, nor 
whose mind and speculations are in it ; for by these 
things men are only puffed up, and bless themselves, as 
if they were already sainsts and saved. 

Moreover, this u will " comprehends the whole life 
of man. For if the man has his will, which is the foun- 
tain-spring of his life, and his head, in the law, there is 
no fear that he will keep any other member out of it. 
For wherever love leads, the whole heart and body 
follow it. And herein observe thou the different conver- 
sation of the godly and the ungodly. — The ungodly 
begin their righteousness from without, and then go on 
to that which is within. They first feign works, and 
then words; and then they go on to the exercising of 
thoughts ; and this is the greatest height to which they 
attain. And here, they begin to be teachers of others ; 
and whatever they think, say, or do, they will have to 
be holy and divine; yet, after all, they never attain 
unto this secret " will." But the godly begin within from 
this holy " will," then follows " meditation," and then 
the external work, and afterwards, the teaching of 
others : as we shall see hereafter. 

And in his law will he meditate day ami night. 

Meditation is not without damnation, unless there be 
first the " will : " but the love will of itself lead to me- 
ditation. And this " will " is to be sought by us from 
heaven, (as I have said,) by humble faith in Christ, 
when we are brought to despair of all strength in our- 
selves. And mark this well. — It is the manner and na- 
ture of all lovers to talk freely, to sing, to write, to com- 
pose, and to amuse their thoughts, on their loves ; and 


> hear the same things. And so also this lover, this 
an that is " blessed," has his love, the law of the 
ord, always in his mouth, always in his heart, and 
dways (if he can) in his ear. For " he that is of God 
rareth God's words," .John viii. 47. " Thv statutes 
lave been niv BODgS in the house of my pilgrimage," 
ilm cxix. 54. And again " I will meditate always in 
hy statutes," ver. 48. 

And thinkest thou that they are blessed men, who 
mm over swine's husks, and who talk day and night 
about natural things, about the opinions of men, about 
prebendaries, dignities, and the power and privileges of 
churches, and a thousand other vanities of the same 
\~o ! They are far more miserable than those 
who talk about the loves of maidens and the fables of 
the poets. For the latter know that they are acting 
foolishly, and can sometimes repent of what they have 
done. Hut the former, thinking that they are all the 
while acting wisely and holily, die in their ungodliness ; 
and too late repent, that the laws which they have 
made have only heaped destruction and ungodliness on 
"leir own heads, because they meditated not on the law 
the Lord. 

verse 3. 

And hv shall ht like wood planted by the rivers of 
'aters,that shall give forth his fruit in his season. 

I huve said, that the blessedness of this man is 
idden in the Spirit in God; so that it cannot he 

no but by faith and experience. And that this is 
ue thou shalt clearly see. — If thou look at his " will," 
i ■ hich alone his blessedness consists, it does not stand 
l his riches, nor in his honours, nor in his righteous- 
lesses and virtues, nor, in a word, in any good that can 

mentioned, (excepting this "ill in the law itself,) 

ither in or out of the man. Nay rather, it is found in the 

nidst of the contraries, in poverty, in contempt, in 

■>li-hncss, in all the evils that can be mentioned either 

• ithin or without the man. So that the man whom the 


prophet here calls " blessed/' is hated by the whole world 
together, and they all judge him to be the most misera- 
ble of mortals. And this Isaiah saw in Christ, the head 
and pattern of all these blessed ones ; and therefore said, 
" He is despised and rejected of men," chap. liii. 3. 
For the world and its prince cannot endure that man 
who desires to be blessed with this " will," but despises 
all his blessedness together. And therefore it is, that 
David, contemplating the fewness of such men, breaks 
out, ' O ! blessed is the man, who,' &c. 

Having thus described the " blessed " man in his 
own proper definition, he goes on to set forth the same 
by a similitude no less beautiful. The definition, indeed, 
was perfect, representing him as free from all evil, 
and filled with all good ; (which is what the generality 
of men call blessedness ; but their blessedness stands in 
present things, while this man's blessedness stands in 
faith.) And so also the similitude proves him to be free 
from all the same evil, and full of the same good. And 
since this " blessed " man that is hidden in faith, could 
not be set clearly forth to view by any farther de- 
finition, David, as it becomes all definers to do, sets him 
forth under the similitude of a visible thing. And since 
we know that he is describing a righteous man under a 
figure, we are not to quarrel about terms. 

I however believe, that it is the palm-tree that is al- 
luded to in the figurative description : for it is said in 
another Psalm, " The righteous shall flourish like the 
palm-tree, he shall increase like a cedar of Lebanon," 
Psalm xcii. 12. And what is there briefly alluded to, is 
here more fully enlarged upon. For the palm-tree loves 
the rivers of water, (as Pliny says,) and drinks all 
the year round, and is always green, and brings forth 
most sweet fruits. And perhaps David took this simili- 
tude from those palms on the Jordan near Jericho, 
which were so much celebrated : for Jericho is on that 
account called the "city of palms :" and the Jordan is in 
many other places in the scriptures spoken of my stically . 
Hence we have this passage, " A well of living waters, 
and streams from Lebanon/' Song iv. 15. 


ihet gives you a rule for understand- 
l die allegories of trees and rivers which occur in the 
nptures. The good tree signifies a good man, and the 
% il tree an evil man : as Christ also teaches us. Though 
L know that Augustine, when he was so hotly pressed 
. the Pelagians, that he might not in any way admit 
iat the children of the faithful were born holy, rather 

* by ' tree,' not to understand man, but the will of 
And this may perhaps be given in his favour, 

l by the tree here it is the spiritual man that is set 
h, which is indeed the will itself, or the -Spirit. But 
I think we may witli no less, if not rather more pro- 
priety, here understand by " tree" the whole man; by 
the root, the will ; and by the branches, the members 
I powers. — But I will not contend. 
David says it is "planted:" wherein he distin- 
iiishes this palm-tree from those which grow of their 
own accord : and represents it as being made what it is 
,- the care and cultivation of another, and not becom- 
tag so by its own nature: that is, as being cut off from 
'iat which grew of its own accord and by nature, and 
.anted by art as a branch in some other place. And this 
i what I before said,— that the " will" in the law of 
: Lord, is found in no man by nature, but brought 
own out of heaven by the great planter and cultivator, 
ur heavenly Father, who transplants us out of Adam 
n«o Christ. 

The " rivers of water" certainly signify divine 

ces. For the palm is said to grow in a soit, sandy, 

nitrous, and saline soil ; and therefore it always loves 

ers. And so also the " will," which is the root of this 

e, being in this dry unfruitful life, thirsts the more 

r the rivers of heavenly waters, the more it mads that 

* is nothing in this world that can make it nourish. 
nd thus, as Isaiah saith, chap. liii. 2, in this desert and 
atcriess land, " He shall grow up before him as a 

lender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground." But, 
• • n not wonderful that a tree should grow in a barren 
oil. I»eing nourished by the rivers of water only? 
i therefore is the man. who, the more he feels the 


barrenness of the world, thirsts the more after heavenly 
waters. Thus, this tree does not grow by the richness of 
the earth, nor does the "blessed" man grow by the 
luxuries of this world. 

Some have inquired why David here saith 4 wood ' 
(lignum) rather than ' a tree ' (arborem) : and, shall 
* give ' his fruit, rather than shall * bear' his fruit. The 
reading in Genesis, is, that God created c wood ' (lignum) 
not ' the tree' (arborem.) And hence the scripture 
still preserves the metaphor ' wood ' (lignum) for * tree ' 
(arborem.) And the * giving ' of fruit, shows, that this 
blessed man serves not himself, but his neighbours, 
with that charity which we see to be commanded in 
every law of God. For there is no tree that brings 
forth fruit for itself, but every tree gives its fruit unto 
others. Nay, no creature, (except man and the devil,) 
lives to itself, or serves itself. Nor does the sun shine 
for itself, nor the water flow for itself, &c. 

Thus every creature observes the law of charity, and 
its whole substance is in the law of the Lord : nay, even 
the different members of the human body do not serve 
themselves. It is the affection of the mind only that is 
ungodly : for this not only will not give every one his 
own, and will not serve any one, nor wish well to any 
one, but, it takes all from all for itself, and seeks its 
own profit in all things, even in God himself. So that 
you may truly say, that this is the tree, or thorn, or 
brier, which grows of its own accord, cherished by the 
cultivation of no other hand, nor delighting in the rivers 
of water ; and bringing forth nothing but thorns, with 
which it goads, tears, and chokes the fruits of all other 
trees that grow near it; and also pulls, plucks, and 
tears the garments, fleeces, skin, flesh, and every thing 
else of every object that passes by it. The prophet, 
therefore, has here set forth the benefit of good trees, — 
that, while they injure no one, they profit all, and give 
forth their fruits willingly. 

/// his season. 

() golden and admirable word ! by which, is asserted 


liberty of Christian righteousness. The ungodly 

,ve their stated days, stated times, certain works, 

id certain places ; to which they stick so closely, that 

ii" their neighbour were perishing with hunger, they 

could not be torn from them. But this blessed man, 

being free at all times, in all places, for every work, and 

"o every person, will serve you whenever an opportunity 

- ottered him ; whatsoever comes into his hands to do, 

le does it. He is neither a Jew, nor a Gentile, nor a 

ireek, nor a barbarian, nor of any other particular per- 

He gives his fruit in his season, as often as either 

Tiod or man require his work. Therefore, his fruits 

have do name, and his times have no name. He does 

serve any particular person, nor in any particular 

me, place, or work ; but he serves all in all things. 

.nd he is indeed a man of all hours, of all works, of all 

; and, after the likeness of his lather, he is all 

I all tilings, and to all men. 

But the ungodly, as it is written Psalm viii. 'fall 
i their own pit, and are taken in their own net," and 
; tormented with the works, times, and places, which 
y themselves have chosen : out of which, they imagine 
hing can he done rightly. And thus, being proud of 
ir own fruits, they do nothing but attack, judge, and 
mjemn the fruits of others, being most free and most 
idy at all times to censure others; and, in a word, 
ng just such in evil doing, as the godly are in well 
For they also are men of all hours ; calumniating 
ami injuring, not in one way, nor at one time, nor one 
erson only, but all men in every way and at all times, 
ist as circumstances throw them in their way. And 
en if they should turn this devotedness to what they 
»y call good, yet they would not any the sooner 
ne godly. 

His leaf also shall not wither. 

He still pursues this most beautiful figure. This 

** leaf" signifies the Word and doctrine. And we have 

said, that the palm-tree is always green in leaf and 

flourishing. But it is said Isaiah i. 30, concerning 



the ungodly " Ye shall be as an oak whose leaf 
fadeth." Only compare therefore all these particulars 
together. — The ungodly walk in their own counsel : 
the godly man is fixed in the love of the law, and 
planted by the rivers of water. The former stand in the 
way of sinners : the latter meditates in the law of the 
Lord, and gives forth his fruit in his season. The 
ungodly sit in the seat of the scornful : the leaf of the 
latter never withers. 

And mark this. — He describes the fruit before he 
does the leaf. And though it is the nature of the palm 
to put forth its fruit, not among the leaves like all other 
trees, but among the branches, having all its leaves on 
the top, so that it might itself seem to produce its fruit 
before it does its leaves, (and we have said that this 
figure is taken from the palm,) yet, the Holy Spirit him- 
self always teaches every faithful preacher in the church 
to know that the kingdom of God does not stand in 
word but in power, 1 Cor. iv. 20. Again, " Jesus began 
to do, and to teach," Acts i. 1 . And again, " Which 
was a prophet mighty in deed, and in word," Luke xxiv. 19- 
And thus, let him who professes the word of doctrine 
first put forth the fruits of life, if he would not have his 
leaf to wither : for Christ cursed the fig-tree which bore 
no fruit. And, as Gregory saith, that man whose life is 
despised is condemned by his doctrine ; for he preaches 
to others, and is himself reprobated. And concerning 
such Matthew says, chap. vii. 23, that they shall hear in 
the day of judgment this sentence, " Depart from me, 
ye workers of iniquity : " even though they may have 
prophesied in the name of Christ, and done many won- 
derful works by his Word. 

But some one may say, There have been many 
saints and martyrs, but neither their fruits nor their 
leaves are now remaining, but all have perished with 
them : nor indeed have we the words of all the apostles : 
how then can this praise be applicable to all blessed 
men ? I answer : — Their word was not their own word. 
" For it is not ye that speak (saith Christ) but the Spirit 
of my Father that speaketh in you." AU the saints were 


I they all taught, the same Word : 
read I Cor. x. 3, 4, " They did all eat the same spiritual 
■at, and did all drink the same spiritual drink." 

This " blessed man" and this fruit-bearing "tree," 
erefore, may signify the whole church, or those who 
old the office of teaching. But there is nothing against 
being understood also as signifying every righteous 
an: because he has likewise the same "leaf:" for if 
? does not teach others, he certainly teaches himself, 
ditating with his heart in the law of the Lord, which 
1 remains in him unto all eternity, as it does also in 
i whole church. And finally, as all the faithful are one 
dy, although this leaf is peculiar to the member that 
ttdWth, vet, by communion, all things belong to all: 
it the word is mine which my mouth preaches, though 
I may be the ear or the tongue : and so we ma)' say 
' » of every other member throughout the whole body. 

And whatxoei-er he t/oeth, [or maheth or tahetk in 
"J shall prosper. 

If he saith this with reference to the trunk or palm- 
, he alludes to this. — -The palm is said to be the only 
e which still grows upwards against every weight and 
pressure. And they say that this is seen in beams made 
of palm-trees. 

And with respect to the word " doeth," in this 
passage, (if I am not too bold,) it does not signify the 
good works of a righteous man, (for these have been suf- 
ficiently commended already under the term ' fruits,') but 
rather, those performances or productions which we 
achieve by means of the arts and sciences. For so, the 
philosophers refer ' doing' (agere) to wisdom, and 
' making' (facere) to art. And we may see the same 
Utinction in the Hebrew tongue, (according to my bold 
■ay of proceeding.) For I generally find the verb 
. to signify 'making* (facere), and paal to signify 
' (agere). Thus Psalm xxviii. 5, " Because they 
^ard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of 
5 hands : " where " the operation of his hands " sig- 


niries the very thing formed. As it is also in another 
place, " Israel is the work of my hands." , And Gen. i. 
it is said, " And God made," &c. And again, Psalm xcv. 
5, " The sea is his, and he made it." But the works of 
God are those which he does by his creatures ; and es- 
pecially, by his word and his grace ; by which, he acts 
upon us, and makes usf act. 

Let therefore this " doing" be considered to signify 
instituting, ordaining, distributing by various ecclesiasti- 
cal ministrations, and, (as the apostles Peter and Paul 
did,) acting as stewards of the manifold grace of God, 
founding churches, and increasing them : for thus,, the 
very faithful are said to be of their forming, their work, 
and their workmanship. Hence Paul i travailed in birth,' 
for the Galatians, chap. iv. 19, and ' begat' the Corin- 
thians, 1 Cor. iv. 15. And again, " Are not ye my 
work in the Lord?" 1 Cor. ix. 1. You understand 
therefore that this is the spiritual workmanship of a 
blessed man, not a tyrannical exercise of power, nor a 
pompous show : for these things even the gentiles can 
do and show forth. But, the ' doing ' of this blessed 
man, is, making many good, and blessed, and like 

And with regard to this " prospering," take heed 
that thou understand not a carnal prosperity. This 
prosperity is a hidden prosperity, and lies entirely secret 
in spirit : and therefore if thou hast not this prosperity 
that is by faith, thou shouldst rather judge thy prosperity 
to be greatest adversity. For as the devil bitterly hates 
this leaf and the Word of God, so does he also those 
who teach and hear it, and he persecutes such, aided by 
all the powers of the world. Therefore, thou hearest of 
a miracle the greatest of all miracles, when thou hearest 
that all things prosper which a " blessed " man doeth. 
For what is more miraculous, than that the faithful 
should grow while they are destroyed, should increase 
while they are diminished, should prevail while others 
prevail over them, should enter while they are ex- 
pelled, and should conquer while they are conquered ? 
For under all these things the world and its prince are 


•afth, chap. Ixvi. % 4 To whom shall I look, but to 
hfcti that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth 
at my word ? ' And how wilt thou assure thyself that 
thou hast faith enough ? Remember then, that as much 
as thott art deficient in faith, so much hast thou of un- 
godliness. It is the way of the ungodly to arrogate to 
themselves all those things that are good with confident 
security, and to refer all that is evil unto others. On the 
other hand, it is the way of the godly to believe all that 
evil of themselves which does not belong to them, and 
to refer all good unto others : nor can they be brought 
to aspire after the better things without much suffering 
of unworthiness ; even though they seek those things 
not on account of any merit in themselves, but only by a 
naked hope in the mercy of God. 

Therefore, to the wicked there is nothing prosperous ; 
they have a withering leaf, and are not planted by the 
rivers of water. — But hear in the spirit one that speaks 
in the spirit. For the whole scripture declares that the 
ungodly flourish and prosper : and we see the same in 
many of the Psalms : so that it seems as if one could 
say of them only, ' Their leaf is green, and all that they 
do prospers.' Hence faith is necessary to understand 
these things. 

But are like the dust which the wind scattereth away. 

The Hebrew word camotz in this passage signifies 
' chaff/ or * the dust of chaff,' or ' the sweepings of a 
barn-floor ; ' yet, it is of no moment, for it is the same 
thing whether you say dust, or chaff-dust, or chaff, or 
ashes ; because the persons here represented are those 
concerning whom Luke saith, chap. iii. 17, " Whose 
fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor; 
and will gather the wheat into his garner, but the chaff 
he wfli bum with fire unquenchable." And you need not 
hold the least doubt, that it is this purging, this chaff, 
and this chaff-dust, that is signified in the present pas- 
sage ; though strictly and most properly, the word sig- 
nifies small chaff and pieces of chaff. And Job in the 
same way saith, chap. xxi. 18, " They are as stubble 


before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth 

And observe: He does not only call them chaff, 
but that chaff which the wind scattereth away : he does 
not wish to signify that chaff which lies still ; but that 
which is driven about, scattered and dispersed. And we 
may understand him first of the Jews: for these are 
scattered away in a threefold sense. First, corporally, 
by storms ; that is, by the wills and indignation of those 
men among whom they live: so that we plainly see 
them with our eyes to have no certain dwelling-place, 
and to he exposed every moment to tf wind of this kind 
that drives them here and there. Secondly, their minds 
are driven about by the wind of various doctrine, by 
means of their pestilent teachers, because they are not 
planted in the faith of Christ, but their minds are scat- 
tered in different directions by uncertain doctrines, 
while their consciences can And no certainty or quiet. 
Thirdly, in the last day they will be scattered by the 
eternal storms of the intolerable wrath of God, and will 
be driven away never to have rest, not even for a 
moment. And the same things will also await all he* 
re tic s, especially the two last-mentioned storms. 

And what else do you think it is in the church hut 
the storm of the wrath of God, that has scattered us 
away into so many and different, such unstable and un- 
certain, and at the same time infinite, glosses of lawyers 
and opinions of theologians ? While Christ in the mean- 
time is utterly unknown, and we are miserably driven 
and dashed against so many quicksands, rocks, and straits 
of conscience? — Though all the rest of the ungodly 
have their storms and hurricane* of pleasures and lusts, 
of riches, honours, favour, and the other billows of this 
world ; by which, they are most miserably dashed to and 
fro ; and that, because they despise the one only rock 
and solid strength of our heart. 

Therefore the ungodly shall ?iot rise in the judgment, 
nor sinners in the counsel of the righteous. 

We have already folly shown who are giflmrs 



and ungodly : and. do thou take heed that thou hear not 
these words of God without trembling, as if thou wert 
sUre of being godly and a saint. This fear itself is god- 
liness ; nay, the very fountain-spring and beginning of 
wisdom and godliness. 

" Shall not rise" here signifies, that the ungodly 
shall not stand before God '. according to those words of 
Psalm v. 45, " Neither shall the evil dwell with thee ; 
the unrighteous shall not remain in thy sight." And 
Psalm xxiv. 3, " Who shall ascend into the hill of the 
Lord ? or who shall stand in his holy place ? " and this 
is said also concerning Christ when he shall rise up in 
judgment : as is that also of Psalm xii. 5, " Now will I 
arise, saith the Lord." Therefore, " shall not rise," 
signifies, that they shall not stand, shall not serve, shall 
not minister unto God ; as they most confidently pre- 
sume they shall do. 

. " Judgment " in this place signifies, by a scriptural 
figure, office. Thus, the whole book of Judges, is so 
called from the judges or rulers of Israel : as in Psalm 
cxxii. 5, " For there are set the thrones of judgment, 
the thrones of the house of David." And so also 
Psalm ex. 6, " He shall judge among the heathen :" that 
is, he shall be the judge of the heathen. And Psalm lxxii. 
4, " He shall judge the poor of the people:" that is, he 
shall rule them. And again, Psalm xcvi. 1 3, " He shall 
judge the world with righteousness, and the people with 
his truth." — The meaning therefore is, the wicked shall 
never rise to that state, so as to be the judges or rulers 
of the faithful : nor even stand in their " counsel," that is, 
in their congregation; which means, that they shall 
never be reckoned either among the great or the small 
of the faithful. And, to open the whole more plainly 
still, it signifies, that the ungodly shall never so rise in 
judgment, nor in the congregation of the righteous, as to 
he considered the servants of God. 

What! shall we not then put down these ungodly 
rulers and these wicked men, and cast them out from 
the midst of us ? Or, is that not a congregation of the 
faithful where ungodly men rule, and where sinners are 


For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, but 
the way of the ungodly shall perish. 

So specious, sftith David, is the way of the ungodly, 
jfctt unto men, they may seem to rise in the judgment 
9pd to stand in the congregation, $ut his who is not 
deceived, understands their ways, and knows that they 
are ungodly; and in the eyes of him they are not at all 
among the numbet of his church. He knows the righteous 
only, and knoweth not sinners, that is, he approves the 
pne, and aot the other. Therefore, (which is what they 
the least pf all expect or believe), their way shall perish; 
phall perish, I say ; though it goes on with such success, 
that it se^ms as if it woyld be eternal. 

Behold how David here terrifies qs away from all 
prosperous appearance, and commends to us various 
temptations and adversities. For this "way" of the 
righteous all men utterly reprobate; thinking also, that 
God knoweth nothing about any such way. But this is 
the wisdom of the cross. Therefore, it is God alone that 
knoweth the way of the righteous ; so hidden is it to the 
righteous themselves. For their right hand leads them 
Qn in a wonderful manner ; seeing that it is a way, not 
of sense, nor of reason, but of faith only ; even of that 
faith that sees in darkness, and beholds things that are 

When, therefore, we are subject to ungodly shep- 
herds, we do not obey the ungodly, but men ; for we do 
not hear or follow their ungodliness, but we endure the 
precedency of their persons. Again, when men put down 
and cast out such, (as we see done in Bohemia,) is it the 
ungodly that they put down ? no ! they put down the 
persons. For the ungodly who are thus put down remain 
ungodly still. It is then only that the ungodly man is 
put down, when he is led from ungodliness to godliness: 
which is not done by external violence, but by love 
internally praying and externally admonishing, where 
God condescends to work at the same time. 

Whoso is not pleased to understand this passage thus, 
let him abide by this interpretation : — that the psalmist. 

in the first place, directs his words against the ungodly 
Jews : for he has in many other places predicted that 
these shall be driven from the church: as shall also he- 
retics, and all those who openly declare their ungodli- 
ness : for they alienate themselves from the church, and 
the church alienates and expels them, how much soever 
they may boast that they only are the church and the 
ople of God. 

Finally: This admonition is to be given which 
l most illustrious fathers, especially Athanasius and 
[ustine, have given before. — That is, that our affec- 
I and feelings be brought to accord with, and be 
npered to, the feelings described in the Psalms. 
For since the Psaltry is solely a certain school and place 
of exercise for the affections; he harps without the 
spirit, who does not harp in the spirit. So that when 
thou readest, " Blessed is the man that hath not gone 
ty in the counsel of the ungodly," thy feelings and 
lions ought to move at the same time, and to hate 
: counsel of the wicked and pray against it, not only 
i account of thyself, but on account of the whole 
*i also: and so they should also when thou readest 
ftbe "way of sinners" and the "pestilence" of doc- 
For it is with this fire, the affection of love, 
>at heretics are to be burnt, and all who savour of and 
teach, ungodliness. But since we have despised that 
tire, God has given us over to a reprobate mind, to 
ome murderering executioners, and to burn heretics 
natural lire, and to be burnt again ourselves in 

And so also, when thou soundest forth, " But hia 
I is in the law of the Lord," Thou art not here to 
i in safety, and securely bless thyself, as if thou wert 
dy a lover of the law of God ; but thou art, with 
ail the ardour of the affection of thy mind, to sigh unto 
him who alone came to send that fire upon the earth : 
nor art thou, as long as thou livest, to think any other- 
wise of thyself, than as one who does not yet love the 
law of God, and who greatly needs this "will in the 



And again, as thou hearest that all things " prosper" 
unto the righteous man, thou art to desire and sigh for 
all those who are placed in any adversity, of what kind 
soever it may be : and also to pray, that their leaf may 
not wither, and that the pure word of God may flourish 
in the church of Christ, all fables and dreams of men 
being cast out. And if thou see any of these things so 
to take place, thou art to congratulate, to rejoice and to 
give thanks unto the divine goodness. — And do not think 
that thou art thus exhorted to impossibilities : only make 
the attempt, and I know that thou wilt have to rejoice 
and be thankful. First, exercise thyself in one Psalm, 
nay, in one verse of a Psalm. Thou hast done much if 
thou hast learnt to make one verse in a day, or even in 
a week, a living and breathing word, by being felt in thy 
affections. And when thou hast attained unto this 
beginning, all the rest will follow ; and there will open 
unto thee an overflowing treasure of knowledge and 
experiences : only, take need that thou be not fright- 
ened away from beginning by any weariness or de- 
spair. — This is truly to harp, or, as the scripture saith 
of David, to strike the harp-strings with the fingers. 
For those little fingers of the harpers which run over the 
strings and strike them, represent the affections running 
over the words of the Psalms and being moved by them : 
and as the strings do not sound without the fingers, so 
neither is the Psalm read or sung without it touch the 

I wished thus to premise these things once in this 
First Psalm, that I might not have occasion to repeat 
the same through every Psalm. Though I know very 
well, that if any one be exercised in this matter, he will 
of himself find more in the Psaltry than all the com- 
mentaries of all commentators put together can give 
him. I see that Bernard excelled in this ; and drew all 
his fund of understanding from it. And I know that the 
same way was discovered and made sweet to Augustine, 
and many others. And so also, we ought to drink out 
of the same fountain these waters of life; lest that 
cutting rebuke should fall upon us which is found in the 


prophet Amos, respecting * making to ourselves instru- 
ments of music like David/ Amos vi. 5. And again, 
" Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs : for 
I will not hear the melody of thy viols," Amos vii. 23. 
For what thinkest thou all that muttering and roaring, 
which every-where fills our churches without either mind 
or spirit, appears to be in the sight of God ! nothing but 
as a swarm of flies making a buzzing hum with their 
wings. And if thou addest to all this a belief that such 
things please God, thou makest the true and living God 
a laughing stock and an idle phantom. 


Ver. 1. — Why do the people rage, and the people 
imagine vain things ? 

Ver. 2. — The kings of the earth stand up, and the 
rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against 
his anointed; saying — 

That this Psalm was written by David, and that it 
speaks of Christ, the authority of the primitive church 
compels us to conclude : concerning which Luke writes. 
Acts iv. 24, 25, 26, — ' They lilted up their voice to God 
with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art (rod which 
hast made heaven and earth, and the sea and all that in 
them is: who b, thy Holy Spirit by the mouth of our 
father David, thy child, hast said, Why did the heathen 
rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of 
the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered toge- 
ther, against the Lord and against his Christ. And 
the kings of the earth have stood up, and the rulers 
have taken counsel together, against the Lord and 
against his Christ. For, of a truth, in this city Herod 
and Pontius Pilate, with the gentiles and the people of 
Israel, have taken counsel together against thy holy child 
Jesus, whom thou hast anointed ; for to do whatsoever 


thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be 
done, &c.' 

Therefore the mind is to be established in this sense 
of the Psalm, and not to be tossed about by any other 
wind of doctrine, because this meaning of it was con- 
firmed from heaven; for, as the same Luke saith, 
u when they had prayed the place was shaken where they 
were assembled together." It is quite clear, therefore, 
that by " the kings," is signified Herod and Pilate, even 
though Pilate was not king, for these two co-operated 
together to fulfil that which the counsel of God had 
determined before to be done ; (as they themselves here 
say ;) that is, to destroy Christ. 

It now remains that we clear up the trifling difficulty 
concerning Pilate. He is either called a king with Herod, 
or else called so by a figure of speech most commonly 
used in the scriptures, which gives an appellation to the 
whole people from the name of the Father. Thus, Israel 
is called the "first-born," even though many among 
them were idolaters. And again, they are all rebuked 
when only some of them deserved it. And so also, the 
one being king makes both to be kings. 

Again, by " rulere" are to be understood the heads 
of the priests; by " heathen" the Roman soldiers under 
Pilate, who seized Jesus, scourged him, and crucified 
him ; and by " people" we are clearly to understand the 
commonalty of the Jews, or Israel. 

In this passage therefore heathen and people are 
kept manifestly distinct. But I do not dare to affirm, 
nor do I believe, that this distinction is maintained in 
all instances : though the term heathen is most frequently 
used in contradistinction to the Jews, or Israel. For 
thus, the church of the heathen (or Gentiles), and Paul 
an apostle of the heathen (or Gentiles), is held in uni- 
versal authority and use, as distinct from the church 
of the Jews, or that which is of the Jews. 

And observe how this distinction is kept up, "the 
heathen rage," and *'the people meditate a vain thing," 
"the kings stand up," and, "the rulers take counsel 

Hit " heathen," « irrational beasts raspd, for they 
knew not what they dkU- But the " people* prated and 
conferred in their councils speaking iniquity against the 
Most HiA, and surrounded him on every side with 

of hatred, as it is set forth, in Psalm 108 , saving, 
Cone, let as kill him, and the inheritance shall be 
Mark xii. 7. And Caiaphas, John xi. 49, 50, 
having awKmbled the people, said, M Ye know nothing 
at all : nor consider that it is expedient for us that one 
man die for the people." — These vain addresses to the 
people, therefore, whereby they so often sought to destroy 
Christ, and their fabricated accusations before Pilate, 
are what David here calls ' vain meditations/ — For the 
" kings" decreed, (because that is what we are here to 
understand from the Hebrew * stood up 9 ) determined, 
issued proclamations, and confirmed these their ragtags 
and meditations, fay giving their sentence concerning 
Christ. "And so Pilate, (saith the evangelist,) willing 
to satisfy the people, released Barabbas unto them, and 
d eli v e red Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crud- 
4 tied."~—»And the " rulers" gathered together, consulted, 
persuaded the people, and at the same time confirmed 
diem in their determination to crucify Jesus : for ' they 
stirred up the people and moved them to ask that Ba- 
rabbas should be released unto them rather than Christ/ 
And observe here the tenderness and modesty of the 
prophetic mouth, how feelingly, and as it were sympa- 
thetically, he speaks of the fury of these men. For when 
he might with justice have called these enraged expres- 
sions, " Away with him ! Crucify him, crucify him ! " 
and all those other enfuriated clamours of the Jews 
whereby they accused Christ, frenzy \ and maddened 
violence, he only calls them meditations. And medita- 
tion, as we have shown before, is a continual prating 
or talking with the mouth : and this is here a meditation 
in a bad sense. For as a lover is always sponta- 
neously saying many things about the object beloved ; 
so, the hater is assiduously prating and saying the worst 
of things about the object hated. — And there is the same 
modesty also in the words " rage," " stand up/* and 


" take counsel together ; " for the act itself was far 
more atrocious than the purport of these words would 
seem to indicate. 

We are hereby taught, therefore, that we ought not, 
after the manner of detractors, to exaggerate the evil con- 
duct of men, but as much as possible to extenuate it ; 
that we may show that we do not feel so much indig- 
nation on our own account, as pity on theirs. For the 
Holy Spirit is kind. He does not glory in the evils of 
others, but, in his kindness, pities all. And thus St 
Peter says of Christ, ' that he did not revile nor threaten 
when he suffered, nor wish for revenge, but committed 
himself unto him that judgeth righteously. 9 1 Epist.ii. 23. 

David says, " vain things :" in which expression, he 
comprehends the purport of nearly the whole of the 
Psalm. For he wishes to show, that Christ, who is set 
up as king by God the Father, cannot -be hindered nor 
prevented by all the many and great resisting counsels, 
attempts, and furies of Gentiles, Jews, kings, and rulers ; 
but that all their endeavours are so utterly spent in vain, 
that they make themselves a derision, and by their very 
resistance further and promote the kingdom of Christ. 
As if the Psalmist wished in this Psalm to prove that 
which he had declared in the first Psalm, 'That all 
things whatsoever he doeth (as far as it is understood 
with reference to Christ) shall prosper/ — For to this tend 
those words of Paslm xlviii. 4, ' And in thy beauty go 
forth, ride prosperously, and reign,' &c. And Psalm 
cxviii. 25, 26* " O Lord, prosper thou. Blessed is he 
that cometh in the name of the Lord." For the pros- 
perity of Christ, as I said, it not worldly, nor carnal, 
but spiritual. For what man is there, who while Christ 
was suffering, would not have thought, that he would 
ever have been one of the lowest of men living, and that 
he was the farthest from being king of all. Who would 
not have believed, that the meditations of the people 
were then firmly established, and the farthest from being 
vain, when they gloried that he was condemned to the 
curse of the cross by the authority of God himself,, and 
thought that their meditations were established for ever ? 


from his heart, as it were, at their rashness, first begirts 
m an interrogative form, asking, — why they raged 1 ? 
why they made themselves a derision ? why, like fools, 
they attempted impossibilities ? O (saith he) that they 
would be wise and understand ! And then, in a way of 
exhortation, he admonishes them, that, they would at- 
tempt solid things instead of vain : that is, that they 
would be rather instructed and understand, and be 
brought to serve Christ in fear. 

Moreover, by the very tenderness of his words, he 
sufficiently extenuates their vanity and fruitless attempts, 
saying, they ' raged,' ' meditated,' l stood up,' and € took 
counsel together.' As if he had said, ye may rage, but 
ye cannot destroy : ye may meditate, and talk, and prate 
much, but ye will effect nothing. Let your kings decree, 
but it shall not come to pass : let your rulers take 
counsel, but it shall come to nought. What therefore is 
left you but that ye wish to accomplish many things 
but in vain ; that ye attempt mighty things, and try every 
means, and at last see nothing accomplished, but eveiy 
thing turn out just contrary to your wishes. 

Thus God will permit ragings, counsel^ and attempts, 
to be stirred up by the ungodly against thegodly. But 
all these are like the swelling waves of the sea, which 
swell and rush toward the shore, as if they would utterly 
overwhelm it; but, before they reach the shore, they 
sink into themselves and vanish, or are dashed on the 
shore with a vain and empty noise. For the righteous 
man, like the shore, being firmly established in the faith 
of Christ, confidently contemns all these languid threats, 
and these swellings that will soon sink into naught : for 
he knows that Moab is exalted in pride, and that his 
presumption is greater than his strength, and his indig- 
nation than his power ; as Isaiah and Jeremiah say. — 
And by this cross the ungodly are tortured according to 
their deserts : for it is a dreadful torment to wish to hurt 
all, and to be able to hurt none. And hence, the heathen 
have said concerning envy, 

Sicilian tyrants never could invent 
A torment, like an envy-bitten heart ! 


And this has by so much the more wonderful etfect 
in Christian matters; because, the ungodly are not only 
tormented, and not only cannot hurt any one, but, by 
the all-wise management of (rod, are compelled by 
this their torture and their vain contrivances, to promote, 
more than any thing else does, that which they attempt 
to hinder : so that his friends cannot so much prolit a 
Christian, as his enemies do. 

Verse 3. — Let us break their bands asunder, and 
cast away their yoke from us. 

These words ought to be connected with the preced- 
ing, they ' raged/ ' meditated,' ' stood up, &c. : * but the 
sense may be, They raged and roared out this, they me- 
ditated this, they decreed this, they concluded this, — to 
take their necks from under the yoke of God and of 
Christ, to break their bands asunder, and to say, " we 
will not have this man to reign over us/' Luke xix. 14 : 
or that of Job xxi. 14, " Depart from us, for we desire 
not the knowledge of thy ways. Who is the Almighty 
that we should serve him ? and what profit should we 
have, if we pray unto him ?" For the prophet represents 
the Micked as thus speaking. — Some are of one opinion 
and some of another: hut I follow this sense of the 
passage. And therefore, as to the scruple that >tands 
in the way of many, that he here uses the plural num- 
ber " their;" that is all to be referred to the Lord and to 
his Anointed, who are without doubt two Persons, the 
sender and the sent. As if he had said, they rejected 
both the messenger and the king, and would not receive 
their counsels. 

And that by " bands," and " yoke," are metapho- 
rically or allegorically signified the divine command- 
ments, Jeremiah proves in this passage, " Therefore I 
said, Surely these are poor : they are foolish : for they 
know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their 
God. I will get me unto the great men, and will speak 
unto them ; for they have known the way of the Lord, 
and the judgment of their God : but these have alto- 
gether broken the yoke and burst the bands/ 1 Jeremiah 


v. 4, 5. And again, " For of old time thou hast broken 
my yoke and burst my bands," Jer. ii. 20. Though this 
passage is corrupted : for in the Hebrew it is God that 
speaks in the first person, " For of old time I have 
broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands : " that the one 
bands may be represented as being contrary to the 
other, the one yoke to the other, the way of God to the 
way of man, and the judgment of God to the judgment 
of man. 

These " bands " are the commandments of Christ, 
by which we are taught how to walk in his way. And 
this "yoke," or these l cords,' are his judgments, by which' 
we are prohibited from doing evil. The former is the 
justification of the spirit, the latter the mortification of 
the flesh. For there are two things commanded : to de- 
part from evil, and to do good. The former of 
which pertuins unto the mortifying the desires of the 
flesh, the latter unto the doing of good works. Nor 
does it make any difference if these be transposed, and 
' bands" be received as signifying the judgments, and 
" yoke" as signifying righteousness ; for the sense re- 
mains the same; and when that is held fast, all con- 
tention about words is to be despised. 

The whole verse then is allegorical. For by breaking 
is signified despising, and making of none effect; by 
bands is signified commandments ; by casting away, not 
obeying; by disregarding, not receiving; and by yoke 
is signified instruction and the discipline of mortifying 
the flesh. But when I say allegorical, I do not mean, as 
our moderns use that term, that another and an historical 
sense is so sought in the passage, contrary to what it 
really means ; but, that its true and proper signification 
is expressed in a figurative way. — For always mark this, 
that to the perverse all things are perverse : as it is writ- 
ten, " with the froward thou wilt show thyself froward," 
Psalm xviii. 26. Thus they call the law of Christ, 
which is the law of liberty and sweetness, " bands" and 
a "yoke;" signifying thereby that it is a bondage and 
state of labour and difficulty ; but, on the other hand 
they believe their law, which is in truth a bondage and . 


exemplified in the case of David and Saul : for David was 
anointed king by the divine command, but Saul resisted 
both God and David in this appointment with the most 
determined obstinacy. And indeed he raged, meditated 
many things, decreed many things, and took many coun- 
sels against him, just in the same way. But as all his 
J resumptive attempts were vain, so were all those of the 
ews and gentiles against Christ vain also. It now 

Verse 4. — " He that sitteth in the heavens shall 
laugh at them: the Lord shall have them in derision." 

This tautology, or repetition of the same thing, which 
is frequent in the scriptures, is a sign of the thing being 
established ; according to the authority of the patriarch 
Joseph, Gen. xli. 32, where, having interpreted the 
dreams of Pharaoh, he said, " And for that the dream 
was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the 
thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring 
it to pass." And therefore, here also, " shall laugh at 
them," and, " shall have them in derision," is a repeti- 
tion, to show that there is not a doubt to be entertained 
that all these things will most surely come to pass. 

And the gracious Spirit does all this for our comfort 
and consolation ; that we may not faint under tempta- 
tion, but lift up our heads with the most certain hope ; 
because " he that shall come will come and will not tarry." 
Heb. x. 37. Wherefore, although in all human modes 
of expression tautology is a defect, and deemed super- 
fluous, yet, in the things of God, it is most highly neces- 
sary ; because, " hope deferred (as the wise man saith) 
maketh the heart sick," Prov. xiii 1 2 ; that true 
hope, I mean, which labours under sufferings and the 
cross; for all delay is supportable to those who are 
labouring in the sufferings of Christ. Therefore, they 
have need of the all firm and all sure promise of God 
to support them. And as, on the one hand, consolation 
cannot be sufficiently pressed upon the afflicted from the 
promised of good things ; so, on the other, terror cannot 
be sufficiently thundered against the insensible, the bar- 


the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The 
Lord shall laugh at him : for he seeth that his day is 
coining. " And it goes on to say that our adversaries are 
not only to be cut down but to be held in derision. 

O what a power of faith is required in all these 
words ! For who would have thought, while Christ was 
suffering and the Jews triumphing, that God was laugh- 
ing at mem all the while ! And so also, while we are 
oppressed, how shall we believe that God is holding our 
adversaries in derision, when it seems to ourselves that 
we are held in derision both by God and men ! But, as 
I have said, this derision is divine. For God made the 
Christ-murdering Jews and Gentiles a derision to the 
whole world, by raising Christ from the dead, and 
making, out of nis despairing kingdom among that one 
people, a kingdom that shall flourish eternally over all 
creatures: thus turning all their endeavours into an 
event the directly contrary of what they expected : as 
we sing Psalm cxiii. 4, " The Lord is high above all na- 
tions, and his glory above the heavens : " and yet, that 
same God was humbled under all the Jews, and his' ig- 
nominy went even under the earth. Therefore, as in the 
preceding verses the passion and death pf Christ are pro- 
phesied of; so in this verse his resurrection is predicted, 
though in a way of somewhat an obscure allusion. 

But what is the intent of those words, " He that 
sitteth in the heavens?" It sets forth the quiet and won- 
derfully hidden Judge, for the raising of our hope. He 
sitteth in the heaven, who is concerned for us. He 
sitteth there in quiet and safety. Though we are dis- 
tressed, he is not distressed whose care we are. We are 
tossed to and fro, but he sits unmoved, that the righte- 
ous may not be tossed to and fro for ever. But, his 
sitting in heaven is so secret and hidden, that unless 
thou be in heaven thou canst not know and understand 
it Thou art suffering upon earth, in waters, and under 
all creatures, and the hope of help is denied thee by all 
and m all things : until, rising by faith and hope above 
all these things, thou mountest up to reach unto 
him that sitteth in the heavens: and then thou also 


a charge/' it is the same as is said in this verse, " shall 
speak unto them : " because all things are done by the 
command and Word of God : as it is written, " He 
spake and they were made," &c. Psalm xxxiii. 9. 

Wherefore, these words " shall speak " are to be 
taken absolutely, in this way : He shall speak : that is, 
he shall decree, command, and ordain by his word : but 
it shall be against them, and not in their favour : and 
therefore, not in mercy but in wrath. For he speaks also 
against the righteous and his own children, when he 
commands the cross and death to be brought upon 
them: according to that of 2 Kings xvi. 10, " The 
Lord hath bidden him to curse David :" but in mercy. — 
And if the preposition ' unto ' be changed into ' against,' 
and the verb ' speak ' into ' command,' the text will be 
more clear, " Then shall he command against them in 
his anger." 

Nor will he pull down and destroy them only, but 
will distress them also : for he shall consume them out- 
wardly by arms, and inwardly by dread. And indeed he 
distresses his own children also, and terrifies them with 
alarming fears; as was the case with Christ in the 
garden. But he distressed the Jews while they were in 
the act of being destroyed and slaughtered by the Ro- 
mans, with a perpetually foreboding dread. For it is im- 
possible that the ungodly man, when drawing near unto 
death, should not be under unceasing dread and appre- 
hension. It would have been a light punishment if they 
had been destroyed only; but their having been de- 
stroyed in anger was that which increased the horror of 
their calamity ; and, what was the most aw fill of all, 
after having been destroyed and slaughtered, they were 
destined to be punished in wrath, and to be launched 
through death into eternal horrors. 

Behold, therefore, what a catalogue of dreadful pu- 
nishments are prepared for the murderers of Christ. 
First, being stripped of all their glory, in the pride of 
which, chiefly, they raged against Christ, they are made 
a derision to<jod and all men, and see themselves sur- 
rounded by ignominious shame on every side ; which is 

66 ' ' 

lather flavours that reading which gives the authority to 
the Father; according to that of Psalm ex. 1, " The 
Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my richt hand ; " 
and that of Psalm lxxxix. 27, "Also I will make him 
my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth." Sta- 
pulensis thinks mat it may be rendered, " But I have 
anointed my king :" resting upon those words of the be- 
lievers, Acts iv. 27, where they say, • Against thy holy 
child Jesus whom thou hast anointed were they ga- 
thered together.' But those believers seem to have taken 
the word " hast anointed," not from the present verse, but 
rather from the second : for citing that, they had said just 
before l against his Christ, 9 ver. 26 : which is the same 
as saying against his anointed, and which, from a holy 
desire to confirm the truth, they repeat in the 27th verse. 
As if they would say, Most truly he is Christ, and the 
Anointed, whom thou hast anointed ; that is, whom 
thou has made Christ. 

And moreover, according to my poor way of judg- 
ing, I seem to think that " my holy," if the Hebrew did 
not compel us to couple it with Zion, does not unap- 
propriated apply to Christ : so that the sense may be, 
" I have set my king upon my hill of Zion," not an in- 
different person, but him who is my " holy one" 
anointed of me by the Holy Ghost. For Christ is often 
called in the scriptures, the " Holy One of God," and, 
the Holy One of Israel : as in Psalm xvi. 10, " Neither 
wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." And 
Psalm lxxxix. 1 8, " For the Lord is our defence, and 
the Holy One of Israel our King." But the Hebrew, as 
I have said, has it " my holy mountain." 

The meaning of the passage therefore is, They have 
gathered themselves together against me and my King, 
and would not that he should reign over them. But my 
counsel shall stand, and I will perform all my pleasure. 
Who is able to stand before me ? They have killed him, 
but I have set him up as King ! They have withdrawn 
themselves from under him, but I have placed my holy 
hill of Zion, and all the kingdoms of the earth, in sub- 
jection to him ! Thus, they are laughed at and held 


permit her to arrogate to herself any supremacy, that he 
might thereby show us how he reprobated such arro- 
gance, and how he forbad such to be assumed by any 
church whatever, even by his own to whom it was due. 

Therefore the church is called Mount Zion by a 
figure of speech most common in the scriptures, which 
speak of the containing for the contained, as, the city of 
Jerusalem, for the people of that city. Nor is it so 
called on that account only, but also as conveying an 
allegory in its name, nature, and form. 

The name Zion signifies ' a distant view' (speculam). 
And the church is called * a distant view' (specula), not 
only because it views God and heavenly things by faith, 
(that is, afar off), being wise unto the things that are 
above, not unto those that are on the earth ; but also, 
because there are within her true viewers, or seers, and 
watchmen in the spirit, whose office it is to take charge 
of the people under them, and to watch againt the snares 
of enemies and sins ; and such are called in the Greek 
bishops (ewuTKoiroi), that is spyers or seers ; and you may 
for the same reason give them, from the Hebrew, 
the appellation of Zionians or Zioners. 

The nature of Zion is, that it is a mountain. And 
so also the church is, before God, lofty in spiritual height, 
on account of the greatness of her virtues, gifts, graces, 
acts, &c. wherein God has highly exalted her above all 
the power, wisdom, and righteousness of men: accord- 
ing to that of Isaiah ii. 2, and Micah iv. 1. "And it 
shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of 
the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the 
mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills." All this 
I am obliged to interpret again and again on account of 
those carnal dreamers, who are always twisting round 
the words of God to favour worldly pomp. IJut the 
church is exalted above all the power and height of the 
world, not in riches and influence, but in faith, hope, 
love, and all those virtues that despise the riches and 
power of the world. And though the church is now 
exalted in all this wordly wealth and power, it is not 
properly belonging to it, but a certain strange Leviathan 


that has thrust itself in ; and therefore, it has in the same 
proportion decreased in the wisdom of the world of CI od, 
ia holiness of life, and in the virtues of works, &c ; for 
these are the true hills and mountains of the church 
of Christ, in which the world cannot rival her ; and in 
which she has ever surpassed the world, (*hc that is 
the true church), who attempt such things ; for it is cer- 
tain that the true church of Christ ever remains the same. 
Again, the form of Mount Zion was this. It rose 
into a summit on the south, and had the city of Jerusa- 
lem on its declivity on the north side, the city itself rising 
up the hill. Thus Psalm xlviii. 2. " Beautiful for situa- 
tion, die joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the 
sides of the north, the city of the great King. 9 * 

Thus the declivity and acclivity, may signify the inter- 
nal warfare of the people of Christ between the flesh and 
spirit: the flesh tendeth downward to the north, the 
spirit upward to the south. Or, it may represent 
those two kinds of life, the working and the viewing. 
The one tends downward to an employment in temporal 
concerns for the benefit of others ; the other ascends 
upwards unto heavenly tilings, and is always on the hill 
of view, where the bishops or seers are, who excel in 
the word and in life, and who draw others unto them. 
In the midst of whom stands Mount Moriah, the Mount 
oi'ihe temple; and that is, Christ, iioth God ami Man ; 
who embraces both these lives, ami decrees iti the midst 
of both ; as Mount Moriah, situated in the midst of 
Jerusalem under Mount Zion, represents in a figure. 
lor this Mount Moriah, that is, the Mount of Vision, is 
that on which Abraham offered up his son, ami on which 
afterward Solomon built the temple. And so also, we are 
offered up on Christ like Isaac, and are built up, by the 
true Solomon, a temple of God. For Christ is our 
Mount Moriah : l>ecause (rod sees no one, and acknow- 
ledges no one, who is not offered up and built up on this 
place; that is, on Christ, and in Christ; tor the eyes 
of God are on this place only. And therefore, he is 
called the Mountain on which God will look for ever. 


Whereas, the heretics and the proud, raise to themselves 
other mountains of vision, or rather, of no vision, while 
they wish by their righteousnesses and works to merit 
the respect of God. 

And this mountain is called " holy,' 9 not from that 
figurative holiness of the law and external consecra- 
tions : for these things are spoken in the spirit And 
therefore, not being content with saying " holy moun- 
tain/' God adds " my/' As if he had said, The mountain 
which is holy from my holiness ; not that holiness by 
which the stones, wood, and coals are sanctified ; but 
by which the mind and body are sanctified through the 
unction of my Holy Spirit, and purified day by day 
through faith, hope and love. For that is " holy" which 
is separated from every profane use, and dedicated to 
sacred and divine uses only : which separation is made • 
ceremonially and literally by high-priests who are men: 
but which, in truth and in spirit, is wrought by the Holy 
Spirit being shed abroad in our hearts. 

By these things, therefore, God manifestly distin- 

Suishes the kingdom of Christ from every other king- 
om. For it is only concerning this king that he says, 
" I have set," or, " I am set." And, as the person speak- 
ing is the invisible, all-spiritual God, it shows that the 
appointer of this king is a spiritual appointor, for God 
appoints all other kings not by himself as here, but 
appoints men by the instrumentality of men. Therefore, 
the kingdom 01 Christ is not of this world, but in spirit 
and in truth. And he says also " my king ; not a king 
of men, or whom men have appointed. Wherefore, 
Christ is a kins in spirit and before God. And moreo- 
ver, although he is set upon the hill of Zion, yet, to 
"hill of Zion," there is added "my holy," or, "his 
holy :" that the kingdom of Christ may be understood 
to be the people indeed of Zion, but that people who 
are made " holy" by a spiritual holiness. — Here you 
again see, that the church of Christ does not stand in 
the power, nor in the wisdom, nor in the dignity of the 
world. Though there are Some who pratingly affirm, that, 


again John vi. 47, " He that believeth in me hath ever- 
lasting life." 

Hence, the epistles of the apostles are full of the 
doctrine of faith, because that doctrine is eternal life : as 
John saith, chap. iii. 36, " He that believeth on the 
Son, hath everlasting life : and he that believeth not the 
Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on 
him." And again, chap. xii. 49, 50, Christ saith, " For 
I have not spoken of myself: but the Father which 
hath sent me he gave me a commandment, what I 
should say and what I should speak. And I know that 
his commandment is life everlasting. It is fully mani- 
fest, therefore, that he declared the commandment of 
God : that is, faith in himself as the Son of God, unto 
the salvation of all who should receive him and believe 
on his name, &c. 

But you will say, If this was the design of the Holy 
Spirit, why did he not make use of plainer words, in this 
manner, ' I will declare the command of God, that I 
am his Son, and that this day he has begotten me,' &c. 
— I answer : The Holy Spirit is ever like himself. For 
thus, Christ, throughout the Gospel of John, whenever 
he is speaking of his own divinity, always observes 
this, — to bring in the authority of the Father, and to 
refer unto the Father all that he himself is. " I (saith 
he) speak not of myself," John xiv. 10, " My doctrine 
is not mine," John vii. 16, " The Father that dwelkth in 
me he doeth the works," John xiv. 10. Together with 
many other scriptures of the same kind. 

And so also here, when he says that he will de- 
clare, by the command of the Father, that he is the 
Son of God ; he first introduces the Father speaking 
unto him, in order that we may hear more the Father 
in the Son speaking of the Son, than the Son speaking 
of himself. So that the sense is, ' I will declare the com- 
mand of God, that I am the Son of God. But I will not 
do this by my own authority, lest I should seem to boast 
of myself. Nay I will rather declare unto you what the 
Father has said of me, that ye may hear him s] 


Where are ye now, ye poor, miserable, proud mor- 
tals, who ambitiously seek, or unprofitably hold, the 
place of this king in the church ? who declare not the 
command of God, nor preach Jesus Christ the Son of 
God crucified, for the salvation of them that believe, 
but amass riches, wallow in luxuries, and revel in a 
pompous show of all things ? This Son of God who is 
appointed King, does not seek his own, but declares the 
command of God ; and receives his kingdom, not for 
himself, but for the salvation of others, to the glory of 
God the Father. — But this one office of the Word 
which is the great duty of bishops, is the one duty that 
is above all others omitted. And, if there be others who 
teach in their stead, yet, they teach, not the " com- 
mand " of God, not Christ, but their own fables, or, at 
best, only the laws and traditions of men. Therefore, be- 
lieve not that the church, the holy mountain of God is 
there, where Christ does not teach in all purity. For it 
is a word of important weight when Christ says, " I 
will declare the command of God." He says the com- 
mand " of God," not the command, counsel, and his- 
tories of men. And " I " myself will declare it. For 
if Christ does not speak in us, we shall never declare 
the command of God of ourselves. ' I (saith he) will be 
in thy mouth,' and, " Open thy mouth wide, and I will 
fill it," Psalm lxxxi. 10. 

Our translation of this passage, therefore, does not 
in the least differ from the Hebrew in sense. And 
though a diversity in the reading will sometimes make a 
little difference in the sense, yet if the same truth be 
held fast, the diversity of reading will do no harm : 
therefore I will not contend. 

This verse, therefore, distinguishes the kind of doc- 
trine taught in the New Testament, from that which 
was taught in the Old. In the Old the law was taught, 
which worketh wrath and increases sin : but now, faith, 
which worketh the remission of sins, and fulfilleth all 
righteousness. In the former therefore was the man- 
lawgiver and servant, Moses: in the latter the God 
lawgiver, Christ, the Lord of all. The former made 


all things in their own rashness in a church that is not 
their own. 

What is the reason, that, on being set as king upon 
Mount Zion, he is not commanded to ask the kingdom 
of Mount Zion ? and that the inheritance of the heathen 
is promised him, yet not without his asking for it, nay, 
being commanded to dsk for it ? — Perhaps, it is because 
the blessing and kingdom of Christ were promised to 
Israel in Abraham; but mercy was extended to the 
Gentiles without a promise. As in Rom. xv. 8, 9. 
" Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the 
circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the pro- 
mises made unto the fathers: and that the Gentiles 
might glorify God for his mercy, &c." Thus, the truth 
was confirmed unto the Jews and the promises fulfilled 
unto them ; but the mercy unto the Gentiles was freely 
and gratuitously imparted. And hence, mercy and truth 
are most frequently coupled together in the prophets. 
Though it was of gratuitous mercy also that God con- 
descended to make the promise. 

Therefore, Zion is given to Christ for a kingdom, 
but the Gentiles are given to him for an inheritance upon 
his asking for them as a gift, as being those to whom the 
promise was not made. Thus Isaiah lxvi. 19, " And they 
shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they 
shall bring all your brethern for an offering unto the 
Lord out of all nations." Hence Israel is the kingdom, 
and we Gentiles are the gift; like the dowry of the 
daughter of Pharaoh, which Pharaoh king of Egypt 
gave unto her. In a word, when Christ is set as king 
upon Zion, he uses the plainest declarations of it, which 
at once show that such is the case : but when he is 
declared to be the heir, he is first commanded to ask, 
and it is promised unto him as that which shall be here- 
after. All which things we see fulfilled in the Acts of 
the Apostles : for the disciples did not preach the Word 
unto any but the Jews, until Paul being called from 
heaven was sent unto the Gentiles. Christ, therefore, 
being now upon earth, appointed king upon Mount 
Zion, asks for the Gentiles; and when he reigns in 


abound among us also, while good men are few ? The 
authority of the Word is greater than all our capacity. 
How much greater, then, is it than all our suspicion, 
and the phantom of external appearance ? 

Augustine thinks that there is a tautology here: 
that is, that the inheritance of the Gentiles, and the 
possession of the uttermost parts of the earth are the 
same : which tautology, as I have before said, is a sign 
of the thing being established by God, that our faith 
may rest upon it the more securely :— namely, that there 
are Christians also in other parts of the world, where 
other apostles have preached, how much soever wicked- 
ness may there prevail. 

Verse 9. — Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron, 
and break them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 

Here again the vain dreams of the flesh are to be 
removed out of the way, that no one might imagine 
to himself, that the kingdom of Christ is either gotten or 
preserved by iron or arms : because it is written, that 
he delighteth not in chariots, nor in horses, nor in the 
legs of a man. Psalm xx. 7. And the apostle saith, 
2 Cor. x. 4, " For the weapons of our warfare are not 
carnal." And the Turks, whom at this day we never 
seek to conquer by any other means than by the sword, 
we ought to conquer by increasing the number of Chris- 
tians among them. Why do we not attack with the 
sword also the wicked among ourselves, especially the 
great ones of the people ? But God forbid. The king- 
dom of Christ consists in righteousness, truth, and 
peace. By these things it was obtained, and by the 
same it will be preserved. And hence, above, when 
he said that he was appointed king, he recommended no 
other office whatever besides that of the Word : saying, 
" I will declare the command of God :" not, I will ride 
horses, not I will lay waste cities, not I will seek the 
treasures of the world : but, I will do this one thing, — 
declare those things which God hath commanded : that 
is, that Christ is God and Man : which Paul, Rom. i. 1, 
calls the gospel: saying, "Separated unto the gospel 


verse, and in the exemplification of it in fact and ex- 

"Thou shalt rule them," is, in the Hebrew, thro em: 
which Hieronyxnus translates, " Thou shalt feed them." 
But John Reuchlin in his Rudiments, gives* us many sig- 
nifications of this word ; — namely, ' to feed,' 'to rule,' 'to 
consfcme,' ' to afflict,' and ' to shake or break and bruise 
in pieces.' And this last signification, as far as I am 
capable of judging, is the most' applicable to the present 
passage. First, because a u rod of iron," as every one 
knows, is more fit for bruising and breaking in pieces, 
than for ruling or feeding. And secondly, had rulin 
been signified, it would have been sufficient to have sai 
" rod" only. And, for feeding, neither iron nor a rod is 
rightly adapted. For what can a ' rod of iron' do but 
bruise and break in pieces ? according to that of Daniel 
ii. 40. " For as much as iron breaketh in pieces and 
subdueth all things :" so also, shall this break and bruise 
all diings in pieces. Add to this, that this kind of tau- 
tology beautifully agrees with the meaning of the 
passage : because, it now follows, " and dash them in 
pieces like a potter's vessel :" so that this ruling, and this 
dashing in pieces, signify the same thing. 

By each of these expressions is signified the hum- 
bling of the proud by the Word of God : because, he 
then breaks and dashes in pieces when he terrifies and 
humbles. Thus, Acts ii. 37, ' They were converted 
and pricked by the word of Peter ; and cried and said, 
Men and brethren, what shall we do ?' And this is what 
is called in other places of the scripture ' rebukes/ the 
' moving of the world,' the ' shaking of the earth,' &c 
But Micah iv. 13, the most beautifully of all, saith, 
" Arise and thresh, O daughter of Sion : for I will make 
thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass ; and 
thou shalt beat in pieces many people : and shalt con- 
secrate the spoils of them unto the Lord, (that is, the 
people themselves, as a spoil taken from the devil,) and 
their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth." 
Behold, then, what it is to rule them with a rod of iron : 


them. And all this is comejupon us justly, because we 
have cast away from us the " rod" of Christ. And 
therefore, that has happened unto us which is written, 
Isaiah viii. 6, 7, ' Forasmuch as this people refuseth 
the waters of Shiloah that go softly : now therefore behold 
the Lord bringeth upon them the waters of the river, 
strong and many/ 

Secondly: because it is straight. For the gospel 
and the law of the Spirit lead unto life by a straight, 
direct, and short way. Whereas, the law of the letter, 
by long and winding paths of figures and works ; and, as 
it were, by a most tedious journey, scarcely brings us 
after all even into the plains of Moab, and never leads 
us into the land of Canaan, but fails us with Moses. 

Thirdly: because the law of Christ is open and 
revealed, as a " rod" is carried without a case or sheath : 
but the law of Moses and the tables were covered and 
carried in an ark : and so also, every law and every 
work of the law, without Christ, is but a shadow and a 
sign of hidden righteousness, and not the true righteous- 
ness itself; for that is revealed by the law of Christ, as it 
is set forth Rom. i. 17, * In the gospel is revealed the 
righteousness of God from faith to faith.' 

And it is called " of iron," as I said, 

First : on account of the flesh : to which, the law 
of Christ is most galling, though it is to the spirit most 
sweet. For it lays on all the desires of the flesh the 
cross and death, and imposes on us poverty, humility, 
and patience. These are the three horns of the cross. 
For poverty breaks in pieces the lust of the eyes and 
avarice : humility, the pride of life and ambition ; and 
patience, the lust of the flesh and pleasure. Hence 
Isaiah xxvii. 1, calls it, a great and strong sword ; " In 
that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong 
sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent." 

Secondly : because it is of inflexible and invincible 
rectitude, or, (as the blessed Augustine here thinks,) of 
inflexible righteousness. For how much soever many have 
tried to twist and bend the Word of God to their own in- 
terpretations and lusts, yet, it has ever remained of invin- 


way, to signify the body, or rather the man in the body. 
" We have this treasure (says he) in earthen vessels, that 
the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of 
us." And these also are the earthen pitchers of Gideon, 
which being dashed to pieces and broken at the sound 
of the trumpets, burn and shine, and rout and pursue 
the discomfited Midianites. That is, the bodies of the 
martyrs and saints, being dashed to pieces by various 
crosses and sufferings, instruct the world by their ex- 
amples of love and truth, and put the ungodly to flight, 
together with all their ungodliness. And so, according 
to the figure, while the flesh or the carnal man is broken 
in pieces by the Word of the cross and the rod of iron, 
the confused multitude of sins and lusts are dispersed 
from before the face of the Christian virtues, and before 
the face of that grace which exalts the man. 

But we are in this passage to attend to the similitude, 
not to the thing itself. For Christ does not shake and 
dash his people in pieces, and tear their bodies limb 
from limb, just as earthen vessels, when broken, are 
scattered into many small pieces. But this material 
dashing in pieces is an emblem of the spiritual dashing 
in pieces : that is, though the members of the body are 
not thus broken in pieces, yet they are dashed in pieces 
with respect to their evil lusts and actings. The tongue 
does not speak those things which please the flesh ; the 
ear does not hear calumny and detraction ; the hand 
does not take that which is another's, nor meddle with 
those things which are unlawful : and, in a word, the 
body of sin, which before used all the members accord- 
ing to its own lusts, being on a sudden, by the Word of 
God, deprived of the members now scattered and dis- 
turbed by that Word, exhibits a certain happy Babylon ; 
while, as the apostle saith, Rom. vi. 19, the members 
which were yielded up to be servants to un cleanness unto 
iniquity, are now yielded up to be servants to righteous- 
ness unto holiness. And so also in the gospel that 
" stronger than he," not only takes away the armour, but 
divides the spoils. For the Hebrew word thenaphzem, 
signifies, according to the authority of Reuchlin, 


ignorant, and standing in need of being taught and 
instructed themselves. 

It is easy indeed to make the ignorant commonalty, 
who are accustomed to be under discipline, attend to what 
you say. But to bring down kings, judges of the earth, 
masters, rulers, teachers, and popes, to a level with the 
commonalty ; and not only so, but to bring them down 
to the rank of pupils, after such a long habit of ruling 
and teaching ; yea more, to pass over the commonalty 
in silence, and seek out them only for pupils to be in- 
structed ; these things, I say, who can bear to do ? Who . 
will not here, like John the Baptist, tremble to touch 
the head of Christ ? Yet he is to be touched and to be 
baptized in the water of Jordan ; as descending to the 
humble, that all righteousness may be fulfilled : and thus, 
he who is high in majesty, humbles himself beneath the 
lowest ; and ne who is lowest, trembles at the humility 
of his high majesty. 

But the good and blessed Spirit admonishes the 
great in this manner ; because he knows that those who 
are puffed up with their power and office, have always in 
their mouths that of John ix. 34, " Dost thou teach 
us ?" And that also of Jeremiah xviii. 1 8, " For the law 
shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the 
wise, nor the word from the prophet." And therefore, 
being puffed up with this inflated and false confidence, 
they used to resist the true prophets ; just in the same 
way as, at this day, all those prating flatterers about the 
popes, resist every appearance of the truth; because 
they cannot once imagine, as they pretend, that the 
head of so high a personage can err, &c. The church 
cannot err, (they cry.) The pope cannot err. The council 
cannot err. 

Those, however, under the Old Testament were more 
strictly bound to obey the high-priests than we Christians 
are. For then, they were bound to hear the Levitical 
priests, under penalty of death. But, in our day, as we 
are all priests, and that word of Isaiah liv. 1 3, is ful- 
filled, " Thy children shall be all taught of the Lord ;" 
and that also of Jeremiah xxxi. 34, " And they shall 


despised, and all things which you have feared are to 
be loved. He sets before you the cross and death. He 
admonishes you to set light by every thing human that 
appears either good or evil, in order to transport you 
into far different good things which neither the eye has 
seen, nor the ear heard, and which it has never entered 
into the heart of man to conceive. Ye must die if ye 
would live under this King : and the cross, the hatred 
of the whole world, poverty, ignominy, hunger, thirst, 
and, in a word, all the evils of this world, are to be 
endured, and cannot be avoided. For this King is one 
who was himself made a fool unto the world, and died : 
and he also bruises all his with a rod of iron, and dashes 
them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 

How then shall he endure these things who stands 
in the flesh, and depends on sense ; who measures every 
thing by reason ; and who stands at the door of his 
tent, and will not look at the face of Moses? So 
necessary are instruction and understanding to rise above 
all these things, and, despising things that are seen, to 
be carried up unto things that are not seen ; being made 
wise, not unto the things that are on earth, but unto the 
things that are above, where Christ is, &c. 

Wherefore, the expression " be wise," is, in the 
Hebrew, ascilu ; which, being put absolutely, signifies 
'make wise :' that is, (as Hieronymus explains it), your- 
selves or others : that is, so do, so strive, that ye may 
be wise; may be wise unto spiritual and heavenly things. 
In the same way also it is said, Psalm xxxii. 9, " Be ye 
not as the horse or as the mule, which have no under- 
standing." And this understanding is not that concerning 
which philosophers dispute, but is faith itself; which, in 
times both of prosperity and of adversity, is able to see 
those things which are not seen. 

Therefore, not fully descri&ing those things which 
they are to understand, he says, absolutely, " be wise :" 
that is, take heed that ye be wise : take heed that ye be 
in the faith. For those things which faith understands 
are not to be described either in name or form. For the 
prosperity or adversity of present things utterly subverts 


stand, therefore, by these things? Let us hear the 
apostle Paul, as an intermediate teacher, to settle the 
matter: who says, 1 Cor. i. 21, that " after the world" 
by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the fool- 
ishness of preaching to save them that believe." As if 
he had said, We must be made wise by becoming fools. 
Thus, in peace and prosperity we do not, aa. we ought, 
acknowledge God nor praise him : and so also, in secu- 
rity, we do not serve God with gladness : and therefore, 
it pleases him, that we serve him in gladness with fear, 
and rejoice before him with trembling. 

And y in a word, as the world perverts all the things 
of God, so, again, does God pervert all the things of 
the world. The whole creation was given to raise up and 
illuminate man: but he uses it to blind and pervert 
himself : and therefore, God uses the whole creation to 
blind and pervert man. This is the cross of Christ, and 
that foolishness of preaching whereby he saves them 
that believe : for the reasoners, the disputers of this 
world, the wise, the understanding, are offended at, and 
destroyed by, these things. 

The meaning, therefore, of this passage is this, — 
Since Christ the Lord rules with his rod of iron, and 
breaks in pieces the old man with the word of the 
cross, and that by the will and according to the com- 
mandment of the Father, who has put all thing3 in sub- 
jection to him ; it behoves you to acknowledge your- 
selves subject unto him ; and subject unto him in fear 
also ; that ye may patiently and humbly bear his cross ; 
fearing lest, becoming unwilling to bear his hand and 
counsel, ye should prove to be reprobates ; like those 
sons of Ephraim, mentioned Psalm lxxviii. 9, "The 
children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, 
turned back in the day of battle." And this ye will as- 
suredly do, if ye consider yourselves always to be dealt 
with in an indignant manner, and to deserve greater 
and better things. For the proud, who seem to them- 
selves to deserve good things only, are secure, and are 
not, like Job, ' afraid of all their works,' chap. ix. 28. 
And therefore, in the time of temptation, they stand not, 


say serve yourself, nor your own belly, nor your gold ; 
nor, finally, your own righteousness, power, or wisdom ; 
nor, in a word, any thing whatever that is your own or 
created : for all these things are a kind of idolatry. 
Therefore, rejoice " in him : " not in yourselves, nor in 
any creature, but in the Lord alone. And this thou 
doest when thou arrogatest to thyself nothing good what- 
ever in any thing of thine own, so as to trust and glory 
therein; but ascribest every thing unto God, and 
praisest, blessest, and lovest him in all things : ascribing 
unto thyself at the same time all evil, and fearing and 
trembling on account of it, and having no confidence 
whatever therein : even as Job said, with respect both 
to his prosperity and adversity, " The Lord gave, and 
the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the 
Lord," chap. i. 21. 

How difficult all these things are thou wilt see if 
thou consider each time. For in adversity, it is a hard 
matter not to faint, not to complain, not to become im- 
patient, and, from the fear of evil, not to do things, and 
to leave them undone, contrary to the commands of 
God; and thus, by the fear of God, to overcome the 
fear of the creature, not to yield to the senses and to 
sensible objects, but to cleave close unto the Word of the 
Lord even unto death. For by these things it is proved 
whether we serve God or not, or whether the will of 
God is feared more than the violence of any creature. — 
Though, indeed, the trembling at God is more in peril in 
prosperity, than the fear of God is in adversity. Be- 
cause, in prosperity we rejoice in security : for it is dif- 
ficult to fear, much less to tremble, when all things go 
on just according to our wishes. 

Therefore, according to my judgment, David has 
very appropriately connected trembling with rejoicing, 
and fear with serving: because, serving implies the 
labour of adversity, but rejoicing the ease of prospe- 
rity : and fear was to be recommended in the former, 
that he might declare trembling to be necessary in the 
latter. As if he had said, there is more to be feared 
where fear is not ; and the more pleasantly all things go 


16, " Salute one another with an holy kiss." And, we 
read that it was with such a kiss as this that Christ was 
used to receive his returning disciples. And, as those 
who kissed each other thus were accustomed to clasp 
and embrace each other, therefore, our translation has 
" lay hold on discipline." 

But since David says absolutely c kiss the Son/ not 
saying any thing about his feet, not his hands, nor his 
face ; it is just that we should take this kissing in its 
full latitude ; that is, that, by kissing his feet, we adore 
Christ as the Son of God and truly God ; that, by 
kissing his hand we receive him as our lawful Lord and 
our eternal helper and Saviour ; that, by kissing his eyes 
or face, we embrace him as our most sweet Father, our 
friend, and the husband of our soul. And concerning 
these three kisses, see Bernard, at the beginning of the 
Song of Solomon. So that the sense is, " kiss the Son ; " 
that is, worship Christ as God with the greatest rever- 
ence ; be subject unto Christ with the deepest humi- 
lity; and cleave unto the husband Christ with the 
strongest love. — Behold, here are love and fear, and 
humility between to keep both in their proper places. 
And this is the most perfect service and worship 
of God. 

And with respect to the other word bar, which has 
been translated l son,' i pure/ and ' discipline,' let us 
proceed to harmonize these renderings thus. — Faith in 
Christ is, rightly, our discipline. And therefore he who 
believes in Christ, that is, kisses the Son, truly lays 
hold on discipline, carrying the cross of Christ in him- 
self; as we read in the Galatians. For he does not kiss 
nor lay hold of Christ according to the flesh, but in the 
spirit : and that he does, when he lovingly undertakes his 
cross and sufferings, which are the things by which we are 
disciplined, Heb. xii. Therefore our translation, though 
by no means correct with regard to the literal meaning 
of the Hebrew, is yet most agreeable to truth and 

Moreover, ' to adore purely,' touches upon (hat 


which is written, 1 Kings xix. 18, concerning the adora- 
tion of Baal. " Yet will I reserve unto me seven thou- 
sand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed unto 
Baal, and everv mouth which hath not kissed him, 
kissing his hand." In which passage, (to make a cursory 
observation,) kissing his hand is not in the original : but 
the same verb xasca is there used, which is found in 
ibfa passage, and which we now are showing, signifies 
' 10 kiss ;' and which, with reference to Baal, signifies to 
adore him ; though it was in all probability some He- 
brew interpreter that added the gloss " kissing his 
band,*' that he might express the mode of adoration 
used ; and afterwards that gloss was by some ignorant 
minor introduced into the text. 

According to this sense of the passage, Job also 
speaks, chap. xxxi. 27, 28, " If my mouth hath kissed 
my hand. This also were an iniquity to be punished by 
tfae judge ; for I should have denied the God that is 
above." By which scriptural trope is signified, as 
Gregory interprets it, a man that trusts in his own 
*wks, and glories in a righteousness not received from 
Chri?t, but gotten by his own works and performances. 
Fur such a man as this adores and kisses his hand with 
U« mouth, because, he praises himself in himself, 
tad pleases himself with himself; but his soul does not 
praise God and rejoice in him : and therefore, it is the 
reatesl of iniquities, and a denying of the Most High : 
kause such an one ascribes to himself that which 
Wongs to God, setting up himself for an idol Baal, 
adoring himself, and making himself the author of all 
■e good that he enjoys. For Baal signifies an 'author,' 
or a ' lord.' Thus, Isaiah ii. 8, " They worship the work 
of their own hands, that which their own fingers have 
made." But this is the most impure of all adorations. 
Therefore to kiss Christ, to acknowledge Christ as a 
Saviour, and to kiss his hand, — this is truly and purely 
to adore the true and pure Christ, — this is to adore the 
Son. And saith John, " If the Son shall make you 
free, ye shall be free indeed," chap. viii. 36. 


We conclude, therefore, that the prophet's mean- 
ing is, that men serve Christ in fear ; acknowledging 
themselves to be sinners, ever accusing themselves, 
and justifying only God in Christ. But as men may 
tun against Christ, and pretend that they have kept 
the law, are righteous, have not sinned, and have no 
need of Christ for righteousness : therefore, opposing 
this presumption, David saith, Do not think that ye 
are righteous ; away with such an idolatrous imagina- 
tion ; make not yourselves equal unto God ) trust not 
in your own righteousnesses. Yea, kiss the Son ; em- 
brace the Son ; and his hand, his righteousness, and his 
salvation shall save you. But if ye do not this, he will 
grow " angry" with your righteousness, and ye shall 
" perish from the way : " or, (as I seem to think it is,) 
1 Ye shall perish together with your way ; ' for in the 
Hebrew it is somewhat obscurely expressed vethobedu 
derech ; that is, literally, ' and ye shall perish, the 
way ;' which seems to me to be put eiliptically, for 4 ye 
shall perish with your way,' according to that of Psalm 
i. 6, " but the way of the ungodly shall perish." For I 
do not see, (with due deference to the opinions of 
others,) how they can perish from the right way, who 
were never in the right way. But they may be terrified 
to their destruction, who, pleasing themselves with their 
own way as being the right way, do not acknowledge 
Christ the true " way." 

When his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are 
all they that trust in him- 

This passage is, in the Hebrew, put in contrariety 
to that which precedes. The order of the whole is 
thus,— Adore the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish 
with your way: because, his wrath will kindle in a 
moment. Blessed are all they that trust in him. 

The meaning therefore is, Make haste, and delay 
not to adore Christ, lest ye perish in his anger. And do 
not deceive yourselves as supposing that he is far from 
you : but know that his wrath is kindled in a moment, 





Why this Psalm is put before others, which, in the 
order of history, were written long before it, is a matter 
of no consequence with me : for I have never yet found 
any exact order for the Psalms at all. Thus the history 
of the 51st Psalm concerning the wife of Uriah* was 
without doubt before the history of this Psalm : and the 
histories of many others of the Psalms were before 
it also. 

And, with respect to the design and meaning of this 
Psalm, it is not my intention to bring forward the 
opinions and interpretations of all; and yet, out of 
such a variety I cannot come to a fixed determination 
in my mind which to choose. I am no friend at all to 
allegories; especially when I am searching after that 
legitimate, proper, and genuine sense, which may put 
an end to contention and strengthen the instruction 
of faith. , 

But however, that the meaning of this Psalm is not 
historical, is manifest from many particulars, which mi- 
litate against its being so understood. And first of all, 
there is this which the blessed Augustine has remarked ; 
that the words " I laid me down to sleep and took my 
rest," seem to be the words of Christ rising from the dead. 
And then, that there is at the end the blessing of God 
pronounced upon the people ; which manifestly belongs 
to the whole church. Hence, the blessed Augustine in- 
terprets the Psalm in a threefold way : first, concerning 
Christ the head : secondly, concerning the whole of Christ, 
that is, Christ and his church, the head and the body ; 
and thirdly, figuratively concerning any private Christian. 

Let each have his own interpretation. I, in the 

lutely and transitively, signifies, ' I caused to arise or 
awake.' As if he had said, 'I caused myself to awake, 
I roused myself/ Which certainly more aptly agrees 
with the resurrection of Christ than with the sleep of the 
body: both because those who are asleep are accus- 
tomed to be roused and awaked, and because it is no 
wonderful matter, nor a matter worthy of so important 
a declaration, for any one to awake of himself, seeing 
that it is what takes place every day. But this matter, 
being introduced by the Spirit as a something new and 
singular, is certainly different from all that which 
attends common sleeping and waking. 

If then these things be so, it follows of necessity, 
that where the title of the Psalm indicates something 
historical, we are not always necessarily to conclude, 
that the subject of it is to be understood historically ; 
but, that the history was the occasion or event wherein 
and whereby the prophets were to be instructed in 
things that were come, by the intuition of the Spirit 

Let the meaning, therefore, of the title of this 
Psalm be, ' A Psalm (that is, a song) of David (revealed 
unto him, or discovered unto him by the Holy Spirit), 
when he fled from the face of his son Absalom ;' that is, 
upon the occasion of that history and circumstance. 
For it is not likely that the Psalm was composed by him 
at the very time of that history and his flight from his 
son, because he was at that time in a state of the 
greatest inquietude from anxiety and gloomy apprehen- 
sion. Whereas, the Holy Spirit requires a lucid and 
quiet instrument : and it is not under the temptation, 
but after the temptation, that the man at length perceives 
and knows the things which have been done unto him. 
It is most probable, therefore, that this Psalm was 
composed long after the historical event, when, in quiet 
meditation, he understood the mysteries contained in 
that event. 

It is moreover to be observed, that in all these titles, 
the word David is in the dative case, which, in these 
instances, is equal to an accusative with the preposition 
ad: and according to the same mode of expression it is 


was the glory of our fathers and pre-eminantly distin- 

Sdshed for its worship of the one true God, its gift of 
e law of knowledge, and of the prophets, and many 
other things described, Rom. ii. and ix. And then, the 
very thick hair represents the splendid order of priests 
and Levites at the head and in the highest place of the 
synagogue, abounding in, overflowing with, and boasting 
of their riches and luxuries : concerning whom, Isaiah 
iii. 17 and 24, ' And the Lord will make bald the head 
of the daughters of Zion : and instead of hair there shall 
be baldness :' that is, instead of their splendid priesthood. 
And again Psalm lxviii. 21," But God shall wound the 
head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one 
as goeth on still in his wickedness." 

And Absalom's hanging suspended from an oak by 
his hair between the heaven and the earth, to be killed 
in that situation, signifies, that the priests hung by their 
carnal opinions, and did not attain unto, nor understand 
either the heavenly or earthly things of the law. And 
the hair being shorn and sold to women, signifies that 
those priests being separated in spirit from the head of 
the synagogue, gave themselves up wholly to their own 
lusts and pleasures. And yet pleasures are no ornament 
to any one : though it serves as an ornament and allure- 
ment unto many, that so many among the rulers are 
addicted to, and sold under pleasures. 

And, (which makes more directly still to the point,) 
Absalom aimed at the kingdom and the inheritance, 
against his father David ; and drove him from the city, 
using the counsel of Ahithophel, who afterwards hanged 
himself in his own house. So did the people of Israel 
against Christ " This (said they) is the heir, come let 
us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours." Mark 
xii. 7. And so also, John xi. 48, " If we let him thus 
alone all men will believe on him." And thev used for 
this end the counsel and help of Judas, who, in the same 
manner as Ahithophel did, armed himself with bands of 
men and coadjutors. And he also, like Ahithophel, de- 
scending into the house of his own conscience, and being 
filled with despair, hanged himself. For the name 


touched, if he were supported with a greater or even an 
equal number of defenders contending for him ? as the 
devil saw in the case of Job, and said, " Doth Job fear 
God for nought ? Hast thou not made an hedge about 
him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on 
every side?" chap. i. 9, 10. 

It refers to his own impotency and the power of his 
enemies when he says, " Many are they that rise up 
against me." For he would not have suffered even 
though left alone, if he had not been weak and helpless 
himself, and oppressed with more powerful enemies. 
For thus, Samson, though alone, could suffer no hurt 
from the Philistines whom he destroyed so often. 
Wherefore it is to be observed as a general rule, that his 
suffering is nothing who has a means of returning the 
injury he receives and of revenging it, and who has the 
power of resisting so as to prevent himself from being 
oppressed. For the two things that concur to tnake a 
sufferer, are, an inability either to revenge or to resist 

And again, it is more terrible to rise up against a 
person, than simply to distress him. Even as also it is 
more terrible to be helpless, than to be alone ; and also 
more terrible for the enemy to be powerful and invin- 
cible, than for them to be many. And therefore it is, 
that Christ saith, they " rise up against me," they are 
excited, strengthened, and banded together against me ; 
they are too strong for me ; they by strength prevail 
over me ; and I, being too weak for them, totter, fell, and 
am laid utterly prostrate. For this their superior might, 
and his own bereft state, are signified by the words 
" rise up against me." As it was expressed also in the 
former Psalm, " The kings of the earth stood up," for 
that signifies the same power. But that which follows, 
most deeply and exceedingly heightens this state of 

Verse 2. — Many there be which say of my soul, 
There is no help for him in his God. Selah. 

Christ certainly heard these words while hanging on 
the cross, " He trusted in God, let him deliver him now 


saith, <* O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger : ' and 
we find the same petitions throughout the whole Psaltry. 
This temptation is wholly unsupportable, and is truly 
hell itself: as it is said in the same Sixth Psalm, " For 
in death there is no remembrance of thee/' &c. In a 
word, if you have never experienced it, you can never 
form any idea of it whatever. 

And observe also, the modesty, yea, the peculiar 
state of mind of him who is under this temptation. He 
says, interrogatively, "Why are they increased?" wherein 
he desires to prove himself innocent, and to show that 
he suffers undeservedly. And yet he does not dare to 
accuse them and to address them with the appellation of 
unrighteous and sinners ; but using an ambiguous ex- 
pression he says, " why are they increased that trouble 
me ?" But at the conclusion, after his victory, he firmly 
and with confidence calls them sinners and ungodly, 
saying, "Thou hast smitten all those that are mine 
enemies without a cause : (as our text has it :) thou hast 
broken the teeth of the ungodly/ 9 For, while he is 
under the hand of these implacably raging ones, he alone 
is the sinner, and all others are righteous ; and while 
they are all, according to the will of God, fighting 
together against him, nothing is heard but this unutter- 
able groan, in which, being imperceptibly aided by the 
spirit, he inquires and says, " why do so many of them 
rise up against me, one person?" And David also him- 
self in this part of his history, labouring, under the same 
feelings, says, 2 Sam. xv. 26, " But if he thus say, I 
have no delight in thee : behold here am I, let him do 
to me as seemeth good unto him." O great self-denial, 
to choose a God even when contrary to him ! &c. 

At the end of this verse we have the Hebrew word 
Sela : which, as it will often occur again, we will now 
speak upon once for all. 

Concerning the Hebrew Word "SELA." 

It is not at this day clearly known what this word 
signifies, or what its true meaning is. The seventy 
translators have rendered it by the Greek word hca^aXfui: 

Augustine interprets, a pause, an in- 

uption or discontinuation of the psalmody: as, on the 

ntrary, he interprets w^a^fiM, a making or conti- 

d of the psalmody. He observes also, that wherever 

* or Sela is put, a change of the subject or of 

is signified. And with him agrees Cassi- 


The blessed Hieronymus to Marcella, adducing many 
uthorities from Origen, thinks that the word more truly 
dries, aconnection of the preceding things in the Psalm 
i those that succeed : or, certainty, that those things 
iofa are said are eternal. And hence Aquila, a most 
diligent expounder of the Hebrew words, has translated 
r.' or ' for ever.' 
Burgensis on the eighty-third Psalm, says, that it 
has no signification at all, but is only a supplement to 
the music, and has nothing belonging to it but the music 
U> which it is joined- And he denies that it has any 
web, signification as 'for ever;' that therefore it is 
found nowhere but in the Psalms, because they are can- 
tides, and sung or said to music ; and that it is found in 
one canticle ot ' Habakkuk, and only once in that can- 
tide; in this passage, " And the Holy One from Mount 
Paran." Halmk. iii. 3. 

Lturgensis is closely followed by a more recent 
•Titer, Stapulensis; who thinks that Sk la was of the 
same signification, with the Hebrews, as the vowels 
itovce are with us in our ecclesiastical responses : 
■ bich are the signature to a pause or final tone, and 
signify, " For ever and ever. Amen :" but they are not 
■g with the response, though they are joined to it in 
; music. 
John Reuchlin in his Hebrew Rudiments brings 
kwward two opinions. — The one, that of Jonathan the 
Chaldean; who, he says, translated Sela, 'in the 
power of ages.' To which translation, Rabbi Eleazar, 
added, * that to whatever portion of the holy scripture 
Sela is added, that scripture will have no end, either in 
1 ibh world or in that which is to come.' — The other 
is that of Abraham Ben Esdras ; who thinks 


which the blessed Augustine interprets, a pause, nn in- 
terruption or discontinuation of the psalmody: as, on the 
contrary, he interprets *iyu{*Apa, a making or conti- 
naatioa of the psalmody. lie observes also, that wherever 
i.xdoAjuaor Sela is put, a change of the subject or of 
the persons is signified. And with him agrees Cassi- 

The blessed Hieronymus to Marcella, adducing many 
authorities from Origen, thinks that the m on I more truly 
signifies, a connection of the preceding things in the Psalm 
with those that succeed : or, certainly, that those things 
which are said are eternal. And hence Aquila, a most 
diligent expounder of the Hebrew words, has translated 
*, ' ever/ or ' for ever.' 

Burgensis on the eighty-third Psalm, says, that it 
1* no signification at all, but is only a supplement to 
&£«usic, and has nothing belonging to it but tlie music 
to vhich it is joined. And he denies that it has any 
**4 signification as * for ever ; ' that therefore it is 
fcood no where but in the Psalms, because they are can- 
ticles, and sung or said to music ; and that it is found in 
*»e canticle of Habakkuk, and only once in that can- 
Me; in this passage, " And the Holy One from Mount 
Paran." Habak. iii. 3. 

ilurirensis is closely followed by a more rerrnt 

»riter. Stapulensis; who thinks that Ski. a was of the 

-ame riirnification, with the Hebrews as the vowels 

lvov/h are with us in our ecrlcMastind nspoiiMts : 

which are the ♦Mimature to a pau^e or final tone, and 

M-Tiilv. fc - Forever and ever. Amen:" but thev are not 

^mz with the resijorw?, though thev are joined to it in 

tiitr musir. 

John Keuchlin in hi* Hei»re\v Rudiments brings 

fc'manJ two opinions. — The one, that ot Jonathan the 

Oiai'.ieiin ; who, he say-, translated Ski. a, k in the 

[>"wer of" age*." To which translation, Uabbi F-leazar, 

a'ioed. * that to whatever portion of the holy *criptun 

•Se/a is adJed. that scripture will have no end, either ii 

thi- uorid or iQ that which is to come/ — The <>the 

opinion, is that of Abraliam Ben Ehdras; \*\ l(J t\ km ^ 



that Sex a is of the same signification as l verily* or 
4 truly ;' and he says that this interpretation was received 
by die Hebrews ; and that in their opinion also it has 
no meaning, excepting that it is joined to the music ; as 
Burgensis has also observed. 

Such a diversity of opinions, therefore, causes me to 
confess that I know not which of them comes the nearest 
to the truth. But the arguments which move me to 
dissent from all that they have advanced are these. — 

First : The examples taken from the Psalms and 
from Habakkuk do not agree together. For the S el a 
which is found in the latter, though it favours the 
opinion of Augustine, yet it makes against Hierony- 
mus; because it is the subject that is changed, not the 
person ; nor are the things which precede and those 
which follpw connected by it And yet, this same 
instance makes against them both ; because, it is some- 
times placed at true end of the Psalms, and sometimes 
repeated in the midst of the words of the same person 
itt the same continued exhortation : as may be seen in 
the third and fourth Psalms : for at the end of the third 
Psalm it is said, "Thy blessing is upon thy people, Sela :" 
and, in the fourth Psalm it is said, " Be filled with com- 
punction in your own hearts upon your beds; Sela. 
Offer the sacrifice of righteousness." Here is a con- 
tinued exhortation of the same person to the same per- 
sons ; and yet Sela is found in the middle of it ; which 
makes against Augustine: and, as it is found at the 
end of the Psalm preceding, that makes against Hie- 

And even if the opinion of each be defended in any 
manner, either with respect to Sela signifying a connec- 
tion or a distinction of subjects or persons : yet, even 
then, no reason can be given why it should not equally 
be put in all the Psalms where there is either a connec- 
tion or distinction of subjects or persons : for it might in 
many instances be put with much greater appropriate- 
ness for that purpose, than where it is now found ; as 
obvious to every observant reader. 

And, that it does not signify ' for ever,' (as Bur- 

sis rightly thinks,) is evidently proved even by the 
now before us, which saith, " There is no help 

him in his God. Sela." For who, I 



be so mad as to assert that Christ, or any righteous man, 
could be in eternal tribulation without any salvation of 
God ? for Psalm viii. 5, saith that it was * for a little time,' 
and short, as we shall hereafter see. And Psalm Ixxxiii. 8, 
it is said, " Assur is also joined with them : they have 
holptn the children of Lot. Sela." Did then Assur help 
the children of Lot for ever ? In a word, Sela, received 
as bearing that sense, will accord with very few verses 
indeed. For when it is said Psalm iv. 2, " And seek 
r lying," and, verse 4, " Be filled with compunction 
i your beds," does it signify that the sons of men shall 
; rilled with compunction, and shall seek after leasing 
or ever ? ' 

The remaining opinion, therefore, is that of Burgensis : 

iich I neither approve nor disapprove : though it may 

said against him, Why should this appendage of 

isic be affixed to these, and not to other passages 

I, in the mean time, will stand by the LXX. Trans- 
lators, who, in many instances, seem to have had a cer- 
tain divine discernment, though they frequently departed 
from the literal propriety of the original words. As, for 
instance, how clearly and appropriately did they render 
that passage, Psalm ii. 12, " Lay hold on discipline;" 
which is in the Hebrew, though somewhat obscurely ex- 
pressed, " Kiss the Son ?" For truly, to embrace Jesus 
Cbrfet, is, to embrace discipline and the cross, and, as 
Paul is wont to say, ' to have fellowship with Christ in 
hit Bufferings.' For otherwise, many may confess 
that they know Christ, while in works they deny him. 
Bat, not he that talks about Christ, but he that lives 
according to Christ crucified, shall be saved. And to 
Ihre according to Christ crucified, is, to be crucified ; as 
Paul says, Gal. xi, 20, " I am crucified with Christ: 
nevertheless I live : yet not I but Christ liveth in me." 

And so, with respect to their SiaJ-aA/ta: what they 
neant to convey by it as to grammatical signification I 


know not: I shall divine its mystical meaning. And 
they seem after their manner to intimate a mystery when 
they made bold, to interpret it l a division/ i a pause/ 
or * a resting ; 9 which Sela, in the Hebrew, does not sig- 
nify : nor were they a little moved by the consideration 
of the certainty, that no one letter, point, or iota, is 
written in the scriptures in vain. 

According to my bold way, therefore, I imagine this 
' pause 9 to signify a certain particular affection of the 
mind, which the person feels while singing or meditatinj 
on the Psalms, under the movings of the Spirit : whicl 
affection of mind, as it is not in our own power, cannot 
be commanded by us in every psalm nor in every verse, 
but only as the Holy Spirit shall move us. Therefore, 
the word Sela is introduced confusedly and altogether 
without certain order, to show, that the motion of the 
Spirit is secret, unknown to us, and by no means possi- 
ble to be foreseen by us : and that, wheresoever it comes, 
it requires us to omit the words of the psalms, that the 
mind may be in a pausing and quiet frame, and in a 
state for receiving the illumination or feeling conveyed to 
us. Thus, in this verse, where that singular temptation 
of the spirit is spoken of, under which an angry Gpd is 
sustained, and not the creature only; the prophet is 
moved to contemplate and dwell upon it with a deep 
affection of the mind. — Such is my opinion, without any 
prejudice against the judgment of others. And let this 
suffice concerning the word, Sela. 

Verse 3. — For thou, O Lord, art my helper \ my 
glory, and the lifter up of my head. 

David here contrasts three things with three ; helper, 
with many troubling ; glory, with many rising up ; and 
the lifter up of the head, with the blaspheming and in- 
sulting. Therefore, the person here represented is indeed 
alone in the estimation of men, and even according to 
his own feelings also : but in the sight of God, and in a 
spiritual view, he is by no means alone, but protected 
with the greatest abundance of help : as Christ saith 
John xvi. 32, ' Behold, the hour cometh when ye shall 

; me alone : and yet I am not alone, because the 
ather is with me.' 

, such an one is weak and oppressed according 
to outward appearance, and in the sight of men, but 
before God and in the spirit he is most strong ; and there- 
fore he glories in the power of God with all confidence, 
' e the apostle, 2 Cor. xii. ' When I am weak then am 
strong : most gladly therefore will I glory in my in- 
nities, that the power of Christ may Test upon me.' 
': Psalm Ixviii. 9, ' It was weary and thou didst con- 
And so also, according to man, and the views of the 
onwiae, such a person is in despair, and there is no sal- 
vation left for him in God. Hut, in the "secret place 
of thunder," he is heard and lifted up ; according to that 
of Psalm lxxxi. 7. " Thou calledst in trouble and I de- 
livered thee, I answered thee in the secret place of 
thunder." And truly it is in the "secret place" of 
thunder : for this thunder-storm of tribulation so hides 
the knowledge of our being heard, and of salvation, that 
any thing but salvation appea/s in view; and not a 
hearing God, but an angry God only, is felt. 

He that has understood and experienced these 
things, will also know well how foolishly and rashly 
many teach, that a man can, naturally, love God above 
all things ; but there is no man, left to his own nature, 
who does not dread death and the punishments that 
follow death, being unable to endure the hell and the 
wrath of God let in upon him. And God cannot be 
loved above all things, unless all these things be over- 
come bv the love of God. 

Hence, the words contained in this verse are not the 
words of nature, but of grace ; not of free-will, but of the 
spirit of strong faith ; which, even though seeing God, as 
in the darkness of the storm of death and hell, a desert- 
ing Ciod, acknowledges him a sustaining God; when 
seeing him as a persecuting God, acknowledges him a 
helping God ; when seeing him as a condemner, ac- 
knowledges him a Saviour. Thus this faith does not 
nidge of things according as they seem to be, or are felt, 

kke a ban* and: a mule which hav* no understanding ; 
but it understands things which are not seen; for "hope 
that is seen is not hope; fori what a mam seeth why 
doth he yet hope for if Rom. viii. 24. 

And of the same import wit)* the present passage is 
that also which is written Psalm Ht. 3, " For strangers, 
(behold here also are many,, and strangers, that is, un- 
godly -and adversaries,) are risen up against me, (that is, 
against me deserted and alone,) and oppressors' seek 
after toy souL: (here, see f there ait strong ones, and they 
prevail against the one that is weak :) they have not set 
God before them.'- As if he had said, They do not 
believe that God is with me, but that I am in despair; 
and therefore they imagine that I am hated by God 

And of the same import also is that of Psalm lxxxvi 
14, " O God, the proud are risen asainst me, and die 
assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul ; 
and have not set thee before them." That is, I am left 
alone and am helpless, and they are multiplied and 
oppress me : I am impotent and distressed, and they 
are powerful, and rise and stand up against me : I am in 
despair, and they say there is no. help for me in God ; 
and they are confident and glory in their victory 
over me. 

Hence, we see that the life of a righteous man in 
this world, after the example of Christ, is made up of 
these three parts of the cross, solitude, impotency, and 
despair; that he may thus be a proper object to find <in 
God, a helper, a glorifier, and a lifter-up of his head. 
And thus Joshua also, with the children of Israel, 
feigned a flight in the war against the people of Ai, 
chap. viii. 5 ; and by that very means destroyed them 
utterly. And so also, the children of Benjamin were 
slain by the children of Israel, Judges xx. 35, in the 
same manner ; for the latter feigned a flight, and, return- 
ing afterwards, slew the former almost unto a total 
destruction. For the cross and suffering are most 
ensnaring, and are most destroying flights to the world : 
and the devil, the world, and the flesh are not overawe 

by any powers more effectual than these : for here, by 
the wonderful counsel of God, while they conquer, they 
are conquered. 

1 1 is clear, however, that lv glory " in this passage 
» to be received as signifying ' glorying,' or ' the thing 
"oried in,' according to a figure of speech used in the 
riptures, whereby it is said, Jer. xvii. 17, " Thou art 
y hope in the day of evil : " and also, Psalm xxii. 9, 
**hou wast my hope upon my mother's breasts : " and 
in. Psalm cxlii. 5, " I said, thou art my hope : " that 
, thou art that concerning which, and in which, I hope 
I so also it is said, ' my God ' ' my mercy ;' and also, 
e Lord my light' and ' my salvation,' &c. And it is in 
: same manner that it is said here, Thou art " my 
«V : " that is, that in which I glory. So that the sense 
, They trust in their own glory, and glory in the mul- 
titude of their riches, according to Psalm xl. and their 
is their strength; but I do not glory in my 
jth, and yet I am not confounded in the impotency 
lich I suffer ; but I glory in thy strength, and thy 
wirer is my glory: according to that of Psalm lxxxix. 
1 7, " For thou art the glory of their strength : and also 
. ix. 23, 24, " Let not the wise man glory in his 
wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might ; 
let not the rich man glory in his riches : but let him that 
siorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and know- 
etii me," &c. And so again, 1 Cor. i. 31, " He that 
glorieth let him glory in the Lord." 

And, if any one wishes to enter farther into gram- 
matical particulars, — that c A bod in this passage sig- 
nifies, properly, that which the Greeks express by Sof«, 
(glory) and the Latins by gloria (glory) ; and that 
therefore, it is a difterent thing from glorying, winch the 
Greeks are considered to express by ieavx*if^, and the 
Hebrew by pheer or tipheeret; — if the passage, I 
say, be so received, it will not even then be improperly 
understood ; for it will then make God to be the ' glory ' of 
ihe righteous man, in the same way as Paul, 1 Cor. xi. 7, 
calls roan " the glory of God," and woman " the glory 
of man :"' because, God is glorified, honoured, and 


pibioed in his saints whom he has redeemed: and on 
the other hand, they, also are glorified on whom God 
has condescended to bestow so great a benefit ; while they 
confess concerning themselves that they were holpen, 
not by their own strength, but ty the power of God. 

But, with me, there is but very tittle difference in 
these two words, especially with respect to the present 
passage: excepting that 'glory' being unconnected 
with the feelings of the person glorified, signifies the 
good opinion of others concerning him, and his feme and 
renown : but ' glorying/ signifies the affection of mind 
in the person glorifying, and his confidence in God. 
Let each one adopt that acceptation of the passage 
which pleases him most; because, in the spirit and 
before God, there can neither be glory without glorify- 
ing, nor glorifying without glory. For, before thou canst 
glory and happily boast in God, thy opinion of thyself, 
as to what thou art in the sight of God, must be good ; 
and thou must feel and firmly believe it to be so ; and 
then, God being thy glory, and known and believed to be 
so, makes thee rejoice and glory in God. For who may 
not glory, exult, and, despising all things else, unspeak- 
ably rejoice, who knows and believes that his opinion of 
himself, as to what he is in the sight of God, is good ? 
that is, that God thinks well of him, is well pleased with 
him, is willing to help him, will fight for him, and will 
give him favour in the sight of all. 

But again, it is not enough, that thy opinion of 
thyself, as to what thou art in the sight of God, be 
;ood ; that is, that thou art loved by nim, praised by 
lim, and well pleasing unto him, (that is, that thou art 
in his glory,) unless thou know and believe this. And 
be assured, that, when thou knowest and believest 
this, glorying and joy of conscience cannot by any 
means be wanting. Whence it is certain, that it must of 
necessity be, that the glorifying of God, and the glory- 
ing of the righteous, must go together : as we find it in 
Psalm c. 47, " That we may glory in thy praise : " so 
that God is both the glory and the glorying of the 
righteous : their ' glory ' is in God, and the 'glorying' is in 


nifies * kingdom and power: so also, with no dissimilar 
figure of speech, to lift up' thd hand; signifies to prevail 
and to be powerful in working : as in Isaiah xlix. 22, 
" Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and 
set up niy standard to the people, and they shall bring 
thy sons in their arms/' &c. And so also Psalm Ixxiv. 
' Lift up thy band against their pride.' And in the same 
manner, ' to lift up the feet,' signifies ( to go quickly : ' 
as we have k Gen. xxix. 1, where we read, " Then 
Jacob went on his journey : " which is in the Hebrew, 
' and Jacob lifted up his feet' And we are used in the 
German language also, by a figure of expression, to 
exhort those whom we would have to go quickly, by 
saying, ' Lift up your feet' 

I have dwelt upon these particulars somewhat at 
length, because, a great part of the knowledge of what 
is written lies in the figures of speech ; and especially so 
in the Holy Scriptures, which have their peculiar 
idioms ; an ignorance of which, sometimes raises great 
clouds where there is the clearest day. To have the 
' head lifted up,' therefore, is to be exalted to a king, 
and to be glorified. 

And I would continually inculcate and bring to re- 
membrance, that these are the words of faith, hope, and 
love ; whereby we are instructed in Christ, that we faint 
not in every strait : for all these things, as the apostle 
saith, Rom. xvi. 4, ' are written for our instruction and 
consolation, that we through patience might have hope.' 
For it is a hard matter, and a work requiring the power 
of divine grace, to believe in God as the lifter up of our 
head and our crowner, in the midst of death and hell. 
For this exaltation is a thing hidden, and that which is 
seen, is only despair, and no help in God. And there- 
fore, we are here taught ' to believe in hope against 
hope :' which wisdom of the cross is, at this day, deeply 
hidden in a profound mystery. For there is no other 
way into heaven, than this cross of Christ. And there- 
fore, we must take heed, that the active life with its works, 
and the speculative with its speculations, do not delude 
U9 : they are each very pleasing and quiet, and are on 


at account the more perilous, until they be disturbed 
and tempered by the cross. The cross is the safest of all 
'lings. — Blessed is he who understands me ! 

Verse 3. — I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and 
r heard me out of his holy hill. Sela. 

In the Hebrew, the verb is in the future, and is, as 
lieronymus translates it, ' I will cry, ' and, ' he shall 
and this pleases me better than the perfect 
Lease : for they are the words of one triumphing in, and 
praising and glorifying, God; and giving thanks unto 
him who sustained, preserved, and lifted him up, accord- 
ing as he had hoped in the preceding verse. For it 13 
usual with those that triumph and rejoice, to speak of 
those things which they have done and suffered, and to 
nga song of praise unto their helper and deliverer : as 
1 Psalm lxvi. \6, " Come and hear, all ye that fear 
God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. 
I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled 
with my tongue." And also Psalm Ixxxi. 1, "Sing 
aloud unto God our strength." And so again Exod. 
xv, 1, " Let us sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed 
gloriously." And so here, being filled with an overflow- 
ing sense of gratitude and joy, he sings of his being 
heard, of his having slept and rose up again, of his 
- being smitten, and of the teeth of the ungodly 
being broken. — This it is which causes the change : for 
be who hitherto had been addressing God in the second 
person, changes on a sudden his address to others con- 
cerning God, in the third person : saying, " and he 
i me," not, ' and thou heardest me : ' and also " I 
I unto the Lord," not ' I cried unto thee: ' for he 
> to make all know, what benefits God has heaped 
on him : which is peculiar to a grateful mind. 
Uut however, that expression of the Hebrew in the 
uture, ' I will cry,' and, 'he shall hear me,' carries 
greater force with it than * I cried,' in the perfect; 
(hough the future does not exclude the perfect, but very 
cibly includes it. And, (that I may set forth the 
I of the speaker if I can,) hi3 feelings seem to be 



something of this kind. — ' I who have now experienced 
bow good and sweet the Lord is, how far he is from for- 
saking and despising those who cry unto him, how 
faithfully he sustains, preserves, and lifts up all who call 
upoii him, — I who have experienced these things, will so 
carry myself towards him henceforth, that I will flee 
unto him only with the greatest confidence. I will not be 
afraid even of thousands of the people : for I am pre- 
pared to hope in him, even though many more and greater 
things are to be borne, than those which I have borne 
already: and as Job saith, " Though he slay me, yet will 
I trust in him." This is that God in whom all may confi- 
dently trust, and concerning whom they may be assured 
no one has any reason to despair. O unhappy they, 
who, when broken with either the multitude or the 
magnitude of evils, do not understand how powerfully, 
-how . wonderfully , and how gloriously this God saves 
those that cry unto him ! ' 

That such were his feelings, is manifest from what 
follows, "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of the 
people." And again, " Salvation is of the Lord." And 
so also' with the same feelings he says, Psalm xxxiv. 1 , 
" I will bless the Lord at all times. 9 ' As if he had said, 
' Fool that I have been ! for hitherto I have blessed 
the Lord at one time only ; that is, in the time of 
prosperity and quiet ; for I did not know how powerful 
he was in the time of adversity also : therefore, from this 
time forward, I will bless him in the time of evil also.' 
For there are some who will praise God at the time 
when all things go well, according to that word, * He 
will confess unto thee as long as thou doest good unto 
him.' But in the time of temptation they so draw back, 
that they will flee unto any thing rather than unto God. 
In a word, they cannot even cry unto him, much less 
praise and bless him. But we are here taught, that in 
the time of the cross, we ought to sing forth that of 
Psalm xviii. 3, " I will call upon the Lord, who is 
worthy to be praised ; so shall I be saved from mine 
enemies :" that God may then be sweet unto thee and 
be loved by thee, when he seems to be the most dis- 


pleasing and the most worthy of being hated. This is 
the love of God that is pure and solid. And this is 
what Isaiah saith, chap, xlviii. 9, " With my praise will 
I restrain thee, that thou perish not." For the heart is 
turn! and restrained with this praise in the midst of the 
aters and storms of temptation, that it fall not away 
mi the love of God. But all these things are the ope- 
lions of" the Holy Spirit, and not of nature: they 
re accomplished all perfectly in Christ, and are 
ought and exemplified in all those who are Christ's. 

With respect to the words, " my voice," — Au- 
tstine, and after him Cassiodorus, think that they are 
t to be understood as meaning the corporeal -voice, 
t ' the voice of the heart ;' that is, the voice of the 
heart that is truly pure : and they are led to this accep- 
la! km of the words from the pronoun " my : " because, 
that is not the man's real voice, which is interrupted by 
impure thoughts when in prayer. And I think this is the 
true meaning of the passage. And yet I do not consider 
that the corporeal voice is excluded ; because, when the 
feelings are powerful, the voice cannot contain itself, but 
will burst forth into words and expressions. For even 
Christ, when on the cross, cried out with a corporeal 
voice, and has taught us also to cry out in our straits: 
» that, we may thus cry unto God with all our powers, 
both inward and outward. 

" From his holy hill."— I find this " hill" to be 
variously understood. Some understand Christ here as 
speaking concerning himself ; others concerning his all- 
high divinity ; and others give the passage other accep- 
tations. I seem to be best pleased with understanding it 
to signifv the " hill" of his all-high divinity: only, 
you are to observe, (I speak in my bold way,) that this 
" hill * : has no name. For in the second Psalm he 
spoke of the " holy hill of Zion," upon which he was 
*et up as King : and therefore the " hill " was there to 
hum a name, because he could not rule upon it 
without its l«ing known by name. But this "hill" 

Em which he is heard, is unnameable, and has 
ther form nor name. And I conceive that 


by tins we ate ail tedght, that in die time of temptation 
we ought to hope the divine help from above; bat that 
the time, manner, and nature of the help are unknown 
to as ; that so, there may be room far faith and hope, 
which always feat upon those things that are neither 
seen nor heard, ftAd that never entered into the heart 
of man. Thus, the eye of faith looks toward the deep 
darkness, and blackness of the hill, and sees nothing ; 
excepting that, it is fixedly directed upwards, expecting 
that help will come unto it from thence. It looks up on 
high, and from on high expects a helper : but what this 
on high is, of what help it shall get, it knows not For 
although Christ knew all things, yet he was in all things 
ttsnpted as we are; so that he himself, in a certain 
sense, and in respect of his humanity, had this hill un- 
known to him and incomprehensible, during the hour of 
his passion : for he speaks of this same thing also in 
another place, Psalm xxii. 3, " But thou dwellest in thy 
holy place," that is, in thy hidden and unapproachable 
secrecy. For as God is ineffable, incomprehensible, and 
inaccessible, so are his will and his help also, especially 
iff the time of desertion. 

But what this " holy hill " of God is, no words can 
express : nor can any one come to the least apprehen- 
sion of it but he who is brought to experience it by faith, 
and to prove it for himself in the times of temptation. 
It is the same as if he had said, ' He heard from his 
holy hill : (which is the common rendering :) he heard 
me in an ineffable, incomprehensible manner, and in a 
manner that I never thought of. I know that I was 
heard from above, but how, I know not He saved me 
from above, and received me from on high, (as we shall 
hereafter hear him speak,) but what this ' above ' and 
this 'on high' is, I know not. 9 — And it is the same 
when. God leaves us and does not hear us: for we 
know not where the Spirit goes, nor whence he comes, 
though we hear his voice when he speaks to us : as 
Christ saith John iii. : and Job also, chap. ix. 11, saith, 
" Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not : he passeth 
ottiftlso, but I perceive him not" " And so, says Christ, 

i* every one that is bom of the Spirit." He departeth 
when the Spirit departeth ; that is, he is left alone when 
the Spirit leaves him : and he cometh when the Spirit 
cometh ; that is, he is heard when the Spirit heareth : 
and. yet he knoweth neither the one nor the other, nor 
how it is wronght upon him. 

And this is what is contained in the word " holy," 
which, as I have already shown, signifies separate and 
secret; and, in a word, that which can be touched 
■either by sense nor by the powers of the natural mind ; 
and into which whosoever is taken, is taken into the in- 
visible God, and is ail-perfectly purified, separated, and 
MMtflfiedk But this is hard to be received by, and un- 
bearable to, human nature ; unless the Spirit of the 
Lard move upon these waters, and brood over the dark- 
ness of this abyss, until the light shine. 

The folly lies here, — that man endures not the 
counsel of God, but wants to be helped at the time, and 
in the way that he himself chooses, and that pleases 
htm : whereby he makes, out of the unmoveable hill of 
God, a hill that has a name, and profanes the holy hill 
of God, by touching it with his own thoughts as much 
as lies in his power. And such an one is like the horse 
or the mule: he endures the Lord as long as he feels and 
understands him, but will not follow him beyond the 
'units of his own understanding, because, he does not 
live by faith, but by his own reason. — All this is proved 
by examples contained in all the histories both of the 
Old and New Testaments, as the Apostle has shown us 
in Hebews xi. : in which examples we find that God 
always bo saves his saints, that they knownothingof the 
w»v, manner, and time of the salvation. Salvation comes 
to all from on high, and from above, unlooked-for, and 

Hence, it is most rightly said, " from his holy hill : " 
that is, from hfs all-high divinity. But all do not under- 
Hand what they say when they speak of this all-high 
airinaty. For to be heard from the all-high divinity, is, 
as I have said, to be heard in an unheard-of, unthought- 
: so that nothing was less thought of than 


this help from, and thi9 being heard by, the divinity. 
For it is faith and hope that speak in this passage : or, 
it is concerning faith and hope being heard that the his- 
tory speaks. And when faith and hope are heard, they 
feel nothing, and experience nothing, and understand 
nothing of the being heard ; because these are things 
that appear not. 

And this is what the word Sela jtself, at the end of 
this passage, particularly intimates ; viz. a deep subject 
and feeling which require a pause, and which ought not 
to be passed lightly over : so hard and difficult a thing 
is it to expect, and wait for, salvation from the " holy 
hill" of God. The foolish man does not understand 
these deep thoughts of God ; as it is said Psalm xcii. 6. 
And therefore, God reprobates the thoughts of the 
people and the counsels of princes, Psalm xxxiii. 10; 
for he " knoweth that the thoughts of men are but 
vain," Psalm xdv. 1 1. Nay, in these depths the faithful 
man is constrained to cry out, " All men are liars," 
Psalm ex vi. 11. So necessary is it in these deep things, 
that all human understanding should be slain and 
brought in captivity unto God ! 

Verse 5. — I laid me down and slept; I awaked; 
for the Lord sustained me. 

The words, " I laid me down " signify, in the He- 
brew, the posture of the person lying down or sleeping : 
but, " and slept," signifies the sleep itself. So that the 
sense is, I laid down, I slept: whereby he signifies, 
that he laid down, and that he rested in the tomb and 
was dead : of which resting, much mention is made in 
many parts of the scriptures. Thus, Gen. xlix. 9, 
" Resting, he laid down, as a, lion, and as an old lion : 
who shall rouse him up ?'* And Psalm iv. 8, " I will 
both lay me down in peace, and sleep." In which pas- 
sages, we find the very same two verbs which are found 
in this verse, though they are not translated by the same 
words : so that, by the former you are to understand the 
resting, and by the latter, the sleeping. 

This is that rest spoken of Psalm xvi. 9, " My 


also shall rest in hope." And Isaiah xi, 10, * And 

sepulchre shall be glorious : ' (for it is thus that 

ronyinus translates it:) but the LXX. have faith- 

ly translated it, ' And his rest shall be honour,' or, 

the Hebrew has it, ' And his rest shall be glory.' As 

be had said, While the glory of all other kings is put 

end to by death, and their glory (as the apostle 

h) ends in confusion ; the glory of this King, on the 

itrary, begins in death, and by death all his confusion 

it an end. And so it is also with all those that are 

according to that of Psalm cxvi. 15, "Precious 

the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints : " 

becau se their life is ignominious in the sight of men. 

Bat I have only hinted these things by the way. — We 

ooir return to this "rest." 

Tlus is that " rest" which was signified by the 
Sabbath of old, which means rest, and which is signified 
*lso by our holidays ; on which days, figuratively and 
spiritually considered, Christ causes us to be dead to, 
aad to rest from, all our works, (that is, our sins,) and to 
keep holiday, that we may live unto God only, and no 
koger work ourselves, but let God work and reign in 
us. — Hence it is that it was so positively and rigorously 
commanded of old, that no servile work should be 
done ou the Sabbath, but that it should be a day 
boly unto the Lord. On which Augustine, communi- 
ng on Genesis, says, that it is to be understood as re- 
ferring to our works, which are always sins. Wherefore, 
aothing but the works of our master, free works, princi- 
pal works, yea, divine works only, are to be done, now 
that Christ has procured a Sabbath for us, or has swal- 
knred up, and done away with all our works by his 
Sabbath and rest. 

And to this refers also the circumstance of Christ's 
Iviog the whole Sabbath-day in the sepulchre : which 
•as done, that the circumstance itself, the time, and the 
figure, may all concur to show forth the same thing, and 
commend to us this all-sacred rest. And a horrible thing 
it is, in this time of grace and holy rest, for a man to be 
Uuily employed in his own works, and to be found totally 
VOL. in. i 



destitute of divine works. Like the Jews, to whom 
these words were spoken, " Remember that thou keep 
hdly the Sabbath-day ; " who, understanding nothing 
about it, still continue in their own works, and, by their 
very keeping holy the Sabbath-day, most awfully pollute 
it. — But these remarks we have made mystically. We 
now return to Christ. 

Christ, by the words of this verse, signifies his 
death and burial ; as we have shown at the beginning 
df this Psalm. For it is not to be supposed that he 
would have spoken so importantly concerning mere na- 
tural rest and sleep : especially since that which pre- 
cedes, and that which follows, compel us to understand 
him as speaking of a deep conflict and a glorious victory 
over his enemies. By all which things ne stirs us up 
rind animates us to faith in God, and commends unto 
us the power and grace of God ; that he is able to raise 
Us up from the dead; an example of which he sets 
before us, and proclaims it unto us as wrought in himself. 
For there is no one thing that more deeply affects and 
afflicts us poor miserable men, than the terror and 
dread of that death to which we are condemned in oar 
first parent Adam. Nor is there any news that we can 
hear more joyful, than to hear that this curse is changed, 
and, (which is greater still,) overcome ; and that death 
is not only conquered, but also made the servant and 
helper unto a better life than that which we had 

By the death and resurrection of Christ, therefore, 
a greater consolation is brought in and proclaimed to 
us, than any other that can be proclaimed unto die 
human race : namely, that death, the evil incident to 
all, is so overcome, so put under the feet of them that 
believe, that it is compelled to work together for the en- 
joyment of that very life which it seems to put an end 
to and swallow up. Who therefore may not here sing ? 
\Vhb may not rejoice with Christ ? Surely this power 
of Christ, which is so full of joyful tidings, ought to be 
uttered forth, not with weeping lips and simple expres- 
sions only, but in a Psalm and song of praise; as 


I praises are wont to be sung, in order that we 

be the more animated to a contempt of this life 

i to a love of death ; for music itself has a certain pe- 

iar effect in rousing and enlivening our spirits. Thus 

llijah had a minstrel, and Moses prepared trumpets for 

r*r: and hence, the Spirit makes use of music also in 

Jtungs so salutary and necessary, because, it is a hard 

itter to leave life behind and long for death : and 

■elbrc, he would have this exhortation in the manner 

i song, that he might the more easily move us, and 

ighl show us, that it is a way in which we may be the 

anest moved. 

And this is shown also farther in his using gentle 
■dm, ami Mich as tend wonderfully to lessen the horror 
" death. " I laid me down (saith he) and slept." He 
es not say, I died and was buried : for death and the 
nb liud lost both their name and their power. And 
w death is not death, but a sleep : and the tomb not 
a tomb, but a bed and resting place. Which was the 
reason why the words of this prophesy were put some- 
what obscurely and doubtfully, that it might by that 
means render death most lovely in our eyes, (or rather 
atost contemptible,) as being that state from which, as 
■mm the sweet rest of sleep, an undoubted arising and 
awaking arc promised. For who is not most sure of an 
awaking and arising, who lies down to rest in a sweet 
sleep (where death does not prevent?) This person, 
however, does not say that he died, but that he laid 
htm down to sleep, and that therefore be awaked. And 
moreover, as sleep is useful and necessary for a better 
renew id of the powers of the body, (as Ambrosius says 
in hi* hymn,) and as sleep relieves the weary limbs ; so 
a death also equally useful, and ordained for the arriv- 
ing at a better life. And this is what David says in the 
following Psalm, " I will lay me down in peace and 
lake roy rest, for thou, Lord, in a singular manner hast 
fanned roe in hope." 

Therefore, in considering death, we are not so much 
to consider death itself, as that most certain life and 
resurrection which are sure to those who are in Christ: 


that those words John via. 31, might be fulfilled, " If a 
man keep my saying, he shall never see death/' But 
how is it that he shall never see it ? Shall he not feel it? 
Shall he not die*? No ! He shall only see sleep, for, 
having the eyes of his faith fixed upon the resurrection, 
he so glides through death, that he does not even see 
death ; for death (as I have said) is to him no death at 
all. And hence, there is that also of John xi. 25, " He 
that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he 
live." All these things are begun in baptism, and are 
consummated at the end of life. For (as the Apostle 
saith,) Rom. vi. 4, " We are buried with him by baptism 
into death : " which passage, as I understand it, does 
not refer to the spiritual death of sin only, but unto 
corporal death also; because sin does not die wholly 
until the body is extinct, or, as Paul expresses it, until 
. this body of sin is destroyed. Wherefore, in baptism 
we are immediately begun to be prepared for death, 
that we may by death be brought the more quickly 
unto life. 

Augustine here asks, why David saith, in the 
future, " For the Lord shall sustain me ? " for it is 
thus that the Hebrew has it, though our translation 
has rendered it by the perfect, " sustained." And al- 
though it is true that in the prophets the perfects are. 
mingled with the futures, and thereby two things are 
signified, — that the things prophesied of were future as 
to their events, but, past and already accomplished as 
to the clear knowledge of the prophets; yet, this is 
perhaps put in the future for our consolation and exhor- 
tation, when it saith, that the Lord not only sustained 
Christ our head, but will sustain also all his members 
that follow him. So that we are to understand him as 
speaking in his own person, and in the persons of us 
all, both for himself and for us also. 

This. Hebrew word iismecheni, which Hieronymus 
renders ' raise me up/ and in other places ' sustaineth,' 
has a peculiar force and energy which the Latin does 
not express, and which Reuchlin renders, ' shall put his 
hand on me,' ' shall approach/ * shall draw near unto 


i ;* which is the sense that it conveys ; — that he who 
!», is not left of God, but is supported underneath as 
t were by the hand of God extended and put upon him, 
'nt he might not fall into the deep, but rather be deli- 
red out of it, and raised up: whereby is descriptively 
t forth the dying man, and the manner of his being 
-rained by God. For he that dies seems to perish, 
I as it were to be swallowed up in an abyss : but 
; the hand of God drawing near to him from above, 
erves him from perishing, so that instead of sinking, 
B is rather lifted up into life : thus, he perishes and 
Us indeed as to himself, but is preserved and rises 

Verse 6*. — / will not be afraid of ten thousands of 
: jKoplt that have set themselves against ?ne round 
Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God. 

This'third verse of the present song of praise, is of 
the same nature as those that precede and those that 
follow : that is, it sets forth and commends to us that 
hotily proud affection of mind that despises adversity. 
For we have said, that these things are spoken in the 
person of one, who, rejoicing in, and «rateful to, God his 
deliverer, praises and proclaims his power and grace : in 
which he is so confirmed and established by having ex- 
perienced them in adversity, that he resolves to fear no 
evils whatever hereafter, but to rest safely in the protec- 
tion of God, now known and experienced. And, al- 
though after Christ rose from the dead, neither tribula- 
tion, nor death, nor surrounding thousands of the 
people, could have any farther effect upon him ; yet the 
affection of mind and feelings, no doubt reigned and 
triumphed in him exactly as the prophet foretold they 
thoald do. And all this was not on account of Christ 
only, who wanted no such things, but for our sakes ; 
who, although we may have overcome some temptations, 
have still many more to overcome. And theretore, we 
have need of exhortation, that, having once tasted the 
grace of a helping God, we may be encouraged and 
confirmed to the enduring of much greater things, 



being moat- sweetly comforted by the' example of 
Christ; And thi3 is the reason, according to my views, 
why the prophet so often varies the tenses of his verbs, 
speaking sometimes in the perfect, as thus, " I cried 
unto the Lord with my voice and he heard me/' and 
also, " I laid me down and slept ; I awaked ;" and 
sometimes in the future, thus, " I will not be afraid of 
ten thousands of the people ;" and sometimes again in 
the* present, thus, " Arise, O Lord ; save me ;" and then 
again in the perfect, as, " Thou hast smitten all mine 
enemies upon the cheek-bone," &c. So that, although 
he says all these things in the person of Christ, vet he 
at the same time shows us, in the example of Christ, 
that these same dungs are accomplished, and to be ac- 
complished, in us. 

And thus also, John xii. 27, Christ says, just before 
his passion, " Now is my soul troubled ; and what shall 
I say ? Father, save me from this hour : but for this 
Cause came I unto this hour." — And here, we would 
briefly observe, that we ought to make ourselves well 
acquainted with this manner of speech peculiar to the 
scriptures ; and know, that in the Prophets and in die 
Psalms, many things are said together and at the same 
time, as to the order of the words, which are accom- 
plished at different times ; and some things spoken of 
first, as to order, which are accomplished at a time pos- 
terior. As we have it here in the person of Christ : 
where, " Arise, O Lord ; save me," refers to his pas- 
sion: while that which precedes, " I cried unto the 
Lord with my voice and he heard me," and, " i 
awaked," refer to the circumstances after his passion; 
But, they are to be understood, as I observed, as spoken 
for the benefit of his members, out of a heart glorying 
on account of past triumphs, expecting with courage 
future temptations, and arming and fortifying itself with 
a confidence in the power of God. 

Moreover, this is too well known to need any expla- 
nation, — that such expressions as " Arise," are not ad- 
dressed to God as supposing him to be asleep or lying 
down ; but, as Augustine remarks on this passage, that 


i unto God which he does in us. So that he 
icn ho causes us to arise: just as he is said so 
i in the Prophets, when he causes them to speak ; 
? apostle saith, 2 Cor. xiii. 3, " Do ye seek a proof 
: Christ speaking in me r" Or, he is then said to arise 
d awake, when he shows us, by a present influence 
■ought on our minds, that he is then with us : which is 
l mode of speech more common than the former : and 
f which, things are in the scriptures then said to be 
me by God, when they are either felt or known by us 
be done: us in Gen. xxii. 12, "For now I know 
at thou fearest God :" and also, Luke vii. 47, where 
rist first said to Peter concerning Mary, " Her sins 
lich are many are forgiven her," but afterwards, re- 
ding the same to the woman herself, said, "Thy sins 
: forgiven." Therefore, though there is no time when 
God does not help, yet he is nevertheless called upon to 
help; nay, he first gives us the power and helps us to 
call upon him ; and, lest we should faint, he helps us to 
continue bulling upon him until he sends us the help 

Thr? verse, however, seems to he opposed to the 
first two ; so that, he says against the multitude of those 
that trouble him, " I will not be afraid of ten thousands 
of the people;" and against the power of those that 
rose up against him, "Arise, O Lord;" and against 
those who taunted him as being in despair, " Save me, 
O my God." Or rather, this verse is set against the 
multitude of those that troubled him : and the following, 
against the power of those that rose up against him, 
where he says, " For thou bust smitten all mine enemies 
opon the cheek-bone : and the last against those who 
mid him he was in despair; saying, There is no help 
for him in his God ; for in that last verse he says, 
'* Salvation belongeth unto the Lord ; thy blessing is 
upon thy people." 

The force of the whole lies in these words, •' I will 
not be afraid often thousands of the people that have 
set themselves against me round about." As if he had 
said, from the great feeling sense that he had of his trust 



Sri God, "I will not be afraid though, not only any 
great one among the people, nor any whole people, but 
even though many thousands of the people rose up 
against me : and 1 will add, even though they should 
so surround me alone and deserted, as to hedge me in 
entirely, and to leave me no one way of escape :— even 
then I will not fear ; nay I will rest secure ; not in my 
own strength, but because thou, O Lord, shalt arise, &c. 
Thus, I say, does the Holy Spirit every where graciously 
invite us to a great and full exerjcise of faith and hope 
in God. 

Verse 7. — For thou hast mitten all those who are 
mine enemies without cause : thou hast broken the teeth 
of the ungodly. 

The perfect is here put for the future, if it be un- 
derstood of the person of Christ before his passion : 
but if it be understood of him after his resurrection, it is 
a continuation of his song of praise and thanksgiving 
unto God, for our exhortation; as we have before ob- 

Instead of " without cause," Hieronymus has trans- 
lated from the Hebrew " cheek-bone ; ' in this way, 
" Thou hast smitten mine enemies upon the cheek-bone." 
And to this rightly agrees that which follows, " Thou 
hast broken the teeth of the ungodly*" And hence, it 
seems to be a repetition of the same thing. 

The order, however, is, ' I will not be afraid of 
thousands, nor shall my followers fear any multitude, 
how wicked and powerful soever they may be : for I 
now know by experience, how thou art wont to smite 
and to consume my adversaries, by raising me from the 
dead, so that they can no longer devour me, and by 
comforting my believing ones by the Spirit so that they 
cannot hurt them.' Though this smiting may be under- 
stood as referring to the destruction of the people of the 
Jews by Titus and Vespasian. For although they are 
still open-mouthed, and maliciously inveterate against 
Christ and his Christians, yet they are so smitten and 
diaabled that they cannot devour one of them : as it ia 


written agate, Psalm lvHl. 6, " God Khali break their 
teeth in their mouths, and the Lord shall break out the 
teeth of the young lions/ 9 

He uses this metaphor of ' cheek-bones/ and ■ teeth,' 
to represent cutting words, detractions, calumnies, and 
other injuries of the same kind, by which the innocent 
are oppressed: according to that of Proverbs xxx. 15, 
" There is a generation whose teeth are as swords, and 
their jaw-teeth as knives, to devour the [>oor from off 
the earth, and the needy from among men.* 1 It was 
by these that Christ was devoured, when before Pilate, 
he was condemned to the cross by the voices and ac- 
cusations of his enemies. And hence it is that the 
apostle saith, Gal. v. 15, " But if ye bite and devour 
one another, take heed that ve be not consumed one of 
another." And this metaphor taken from ' teeth* and 
'jaw-bones/ is to be found in many other places in the 
scriptures, and it is of itself sufficiently illustrative of its 
own meaning. 

And, on the other hand, the spouse of Christ has 
teeth also : as in the Song, chaps, iv. and vi. " Thy 
teeth are like a flock of sheep that are shorn, which come 
up from the washing :" that is, the reproofs by which 
the church wounds and convinces sinners, and by which 
she converts them when thus wounded, ami incorporates 
them with herself, are, like shorn sheep, mild, and re- 
prove without fury or heated zeal : they are shorn, he- 
cause thev are devoid of all care about the things of this 
world, not seeking gain and the wool of the sheep. For 
even the apostles themselves could not preach the Word 
and serve tables ; as it is written Acts vi. 2. 

And these teeth are, figuratively, in that jaw-hone 
which Samson took up and slew with it a thousand men, 
Judges xv. 15. And hence, in the more gracious appli- 
cation of the metaphor, God smites and bruises the 
teeth of the wicked in mercy, when by his grace in their 
conversion he turns them from malice to kindness, and 
from being accusers and revilcrs of the just to becoming 
their favourers and applauders. Thus, he broke those 
most powerful teeth of that terribly devouring wolf, 


St Paul, and made him an apostle, and the devourer of 
all nations unto this very day. And it is in this sense of 
the metaphor that Isaiah saith, ii. 4, " And they shall 
beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears 
into pruning-hooks." As if he had said, they shall 
change their noxious tongues into wholesome ones that 
shall nourish the men of the earth : so that they shall 
become plough-shares for reproving, and pruning-hooks 
for gathering people unto Christ 

And these teeth may also be understood allego- 
rically, (according to Augustine,) for the rulers and 
leaders of sinners ; by whose authority, men are cut off 
from the society of those that live rightly, and are in- 
corporated with those that live evilly. To whom are in 
direct opposition the leaders of the righteous, as priests ; 
who, by their example and by the good Word of God, 
move men to believe, to be separated from the world, 
and to pass over among the members of the church. 
And to this agrees that of the Song, chaps, iv. and vi. 
which is said concerning the teeth. But any one may 
pursue the applications of these allegories taken from teeth 
still farther: therefore I shall say no more About them here. 

This Psalm, however, will not be inappropriately 
used to comfort poor weak consciences, if it be taken 
figuratively, and, by oppressors and teeth, we understand 
those most tormenting assaults of sins and the conscious- 
ness of an ill-spent life. For here, the heart of the 
sinner is in real distress, and is solitary, helpless, and in 
despair. And if he does not accustom himself to lift his 
eyes upward against the assault of his sins, and to call 
upon God against the accusations of his conscience, 
there is much to be feared, lest evil and malicious spirits, 
who for this purpose walk about in darkness, and thirst 
for the destruction of souls, should swallow him up in 
distress and desperation. Therefore, the heart must be 
most firmly fortified, and be enabled to say with Christ, 
whether it be against sin, against a persecuting con- 
science, or against those things that hinder our salvation, 
— the heart, I say, must be enabled to glory with Christ, 


Verse 8. — Salvation is of the Lord, and thy blessing 
is upon thy people. Sela. 

A most beautiful conclusion this, and as it were the 
sum of all the feelings spoken of. The sense is, It is the 
Lord alone that saves and blesses : and even though the 
whole mass of all evils should lie gathered together in 
one against a man, still, it is the Lord who haves : sal- 
vation and blessing are in his hand. Whut then shall 1 
fear? What shall I not promise myself? When I 
know, that no one can be destroyed, no one reviled, 
without the permission of God, even though all 
should rise up to curse and to destroy ; and that no 
one of them can be blessed and saved without the 
permission of God, how much soever they may bless 
and strive to save themselves. And, as Gregory Na- 
zianzen says, * Where God gives, envy can avail nothing ; 
and where God does not give, labour can avail nothing.' 
And in the same way also Paul saith, Rom. viii. 31, 
" If God be for us, who can be against us ? " And so, 
on the contrary, if God be against them, who can l>e for 
them? And why? Because salvation is of the Ixjnl, 
and not of them, nor of us, for " vain is the help of 
man." And hence, we have it written in the Revelation, 
chap. vii. 12, " Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and 
thanksgiving, and honour, and power, anil might, be unto 
our God for ever and ever." And so again, verse 10, 
4 Salvation to our God, and unto the Lamb.' And Psalm 
cix. 28, " Let them curse, but bless thou." And again, 
Malachi ii. 2, ' I will curse your blessings, and bless 
your cursings.' 

Therefore let every Christian soul say, in the midst 
of tribulations, it matters not that they curse and 
destroy me : it is not theirs, but Gods alone to bless 
and save. Nor is it of any avail that they imu- 
ginarily save themselves by their own powers, and 
bless each other: salvation and blessing are not of 
them, but of the Lord : and if he does not save and 
bless them, they may seem indeed to be blessed and 
saved for an hour, but they shall in the end be curbed 


and destroyed. On the other hand, where he saves and 
blesses us, they may indeed appear for an hour to curse 
and destroy us, but we are in truth saved and blessed. 
And this is what is set forth, Psalm cxlvi. 3, " Put not 
your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom 
there is no help." 

And to encourage this consolation and confidence, 
it was of old forbidden in the law of Moses, that any 
one man should bless another. For God said, Numbers 
vi. 23, " On this wise ye shall bless the children of 
Israel : saying unto them, " The Lord bless thee," 
&c. &c. — and " I will bless them." O wholesome and 
necessary precept ! And why, thinkest thou, it was that 
God would not have any man blessed by another? 
Why, but because he had those things in his mind 
which were afterwards written, Matt. v. 1 1 , " Blessed 
are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, 
and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my 
sake." Because men are dealt with as it is described, 
Psalm x. 3, ' For since the sinner boasteth in his heart's 
desire, and the wicked blesseth himself/ and the just 
man on the contrary is despised and cursed ;~ therefore 
the Lord most justly and piously saith, " I will bless 
them ;" and this is what the present verse repeats as it were 
in confirmation, " Thy blessing is upon thy people." 

This verse, therefore, is to be so read, that the em- 
phasis and stress be laid with an elevation of tone on the 
genitive " Lord," and the pronoun " thy:" so that by 
the antithesis we may be brought also to experience that 
feeling of soul full of the sweetest confidence, which 
laughs as it were at the evil attempts of our adversaries, 
and looks with contempt upon the confidence in which 
they boast ; saying unto itself, " Salvation is of the 
Lord : and thy blessing is upon thy people." In which 
way, we may learn to contemn the curse of men, and 
not to seek after their blessing ; since we know, that it 
is of God alone to save and to bless. And it is in this 
same way that Isaiah taunts those described, chap. xli. 
S3, ' Do good, or do evil, if ye can/ As if he had said, 
Ye can neither injure us nor profit us. 


And here farther remark, that he puts the salva- 
tion before the blessing ; and that is in a right order ; 
because a blessing in the holy Scriptures, implies a 
£oiog on and a multiplying : according to that of 
Genesis i. 28, " And God blessed them, and said, Be 
inutful and multiply : " which cannot take place unless 
he that is blessed be saved from perishing. And David 
tptlv opposes these two things to the first two verses : 
that is, the salvation of the Lord, to them that trouble 
and rise up: for these destroy by cursing, and saying, 
" There is no help for him in his God :" but, blessing is 
of the Lord. And this cursing and taunting of theirs is 
most terrible to be borne. For when the wicked have 
nothing more that they can do to the righteous whom they 
have destroyed, the one thing remaining for them is, to 
calumniate, curse, and blaspheme them ; (as was shown 
is in the example of Christ upon the cross ;) whereby 
ihey strive to destroy their good report both before God 
ud before men. They aim at destroying before men by 
detaining them ; and before God, by attacking their 
aith and trust of conscience, that they may not be able 
to glory in God; and that thus they may be confused 
w both sides. 

And in this passage also is touched upon, that terrible 
lemptation of blasphemy, by which a man is urged on 
-f devils to desperation, and to think that the curse of 
God is upon him : and thus he accounts God as an 
•may, as long as he can feel nothing of good coming 
Jwn God ; and this is to blaspheme God ; for we are 
commanded to hope for, and promise to ourselves, all 
mod things from him ; and are required by the first com- 
mandment to worship him with faith, hope, and love : 
ad in Wisdom, i. 1 , it is written, " Think of the Lord 
««h a good heart, and in simplicity of heart seek 

erhaps this is the reason why he so suddenly 

; person. For when he had said in the third 

I Salvation is of the Lord," thereby commend- 

ere, God unto others ; he directly after changes 

i to the second person, saying, "Thy blessing." For 


as'the temptation above mentioned takes us the most of 
ail from God, and makes us shun him as a cureer, and 
seek another to bless, when there is no other to bless; 
he admonishes us to turn. then the most of all unto God, 
when we the most turn from him by the temptation. 
And this feeling of mind, because it is very particular 
and powerful, is not in vain marked with the word 
'* Selet ;" concerning which we have said sufficient 

Thus have we expounded the whole of this Psalm 
concerning Christ, but if this interpolation does not 
please any, there will be no difficulty in understanding 
it concerning David, as being a type of the same suffer- 
ing, and of the same feelings of mind; which are all exem- 
plified in Christ and in every Christian member; except 
that, the fifth verse will give us some little trouble in such 
an exposition. We will therefore leave others to pursue 
it farther and better, while we only briefly set it forth 

" Lord, why are they increased that trouble me? (that 
is, Absalom, Ahithophel, and the whole people, as in 
2 Sam. xv.) Many are they that rise up against me. 
Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help 
for him in God ! "—This above all others did Shimei, 
9 Sam. xvi. cursing David and saying, " Come out, 
come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial :" 
and he cast stones at David, and said, * The Lord hath 
returned upon thee, &c. Behold thine evils are come 
upon thee.' 

" But thou, O Lord, art my helper, toy glory, and 
the lifter up of my head/'' — For David . said in the 
place above mentioned, " Let him alone, and let him 
<iurse, for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the 
Lord will look upon mine affliction : and that the Lord 
will requite me good for his cursing this day." By 
which words he showed that he did not yet despair, but 
firmly trusted in. God, whose command and. will he 
acknowledged and j ustified . 

; . "I cried unto the Lord with- my voice, and he heard 
me from his holy hill/' — This Davjd did when he 


said, " O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of 
Ahithophel into foolishness." And perhaps he did the 
same at other times also which are not recorded. For, 
as I said, it is not in the tribulation, but after the tribu- 
lation, that we are to suppose the Psalm was written. A 
strong faith! which can speak unto an angry (rod, 
call unto him when persecuting you, lice unto him when 
driving you back, praise him as your helper, your glory, 
and the lifter up of your head, when you feel him desert- 
ing, confounding, and oppressing you ! This is a memo- 
rable example of Christian faith indeed ! " I (suys he) 
will go whither I am to go,'* 2 Sam. xv. 20. As if he 
had said, ' I know not whither I am going : ' and this 
is to believe, and to commit one's self into that dark- 
ness where you are utterly ignorant what will become of 
you, and yet have a good hope for the best, and doubt 
not that vou are heard. 

" I laid me down and slept ; I awaked ; for the 
Lord sustained me." — Which, according to my bold 
way, I would understand in this manner. David might 
say, ' I was in that state that I despaired of my 
life, of my glory, and of my all. I was like unto 
one dead and descending into die pit, as to all ex- 
ternal appearance in the sight of men : nor was there 
any thing left alive in me but faith : and it ap|>eared 
to me that if I should be a^ain re-instated in niv 
kingdom, it would be nothing less than as if 1 were 
raised from the grave and from the >leep of death.' lor 
into this state of things, and down to these gate-; of 
hell, it is that the Lord is wont to bring those whose 
faith he designs to try : and indeed, the man that is put 
into this state of things di tiers little from one dead.— Or 
if this do not please, let the acceptation be this, 4 1 was 
overwhelmed with this tribulation. And, as tho<c who 
are sunk into a deep sleep know not that they are alive, 
and are like unto men dead ; so I, from the exceeding 
greatness of my affliction, and from being put to the 
very extremity of my faith, had no enjoyment whatever 
of this external life, and was almost dead : after which 
manner, it is said concerning Jacob, Gen. xlv. '27, that, 


when he heard that his Bon Joseph was reigning in 
Egypt, he was as one awaking from a deep sleep, and 
did not believe them; that is, because he had been in 
such utter despair concerning Joseph ; but that, when 
he saw the waggons, and all the things that Joseph had 
sent, his " spirit revived." And thus, David also says, 
that he revived and arose from the deep sleep of his 
heart, and, as it were from death. For as I have con- 
fessed, I cannot understand it concerning natural sleep 
and rest. And David himself also, 2 Sam. xix. 22, 
when he returned, " Do not I know that I am this day 
king over Israel?" wherein he plainly shows his former 
feelings of despair concerning the kingdom, as to all pie- 
sent appearances. 

" I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that 
have set themselves against me round about " Arise, O 
Lord, save me, O my God." — This is what he said upon 
his being recalled — ' I shall no more fear evil if thou be 
with me. (Psalm xxiii. 4.) Do thou only arise and 
save me, as thou didst lately, and be my God ; then I 
will fear nothing.' 

" For thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the 
cheek-bone, thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly."— 
For the people and Absalom were slain, and there was 
a great slaughter that day of seventy thousand men, 
2 Sam. xviii. 7. And thus were all who devoured and 
afflicted him smitten and slam. 

" Salvation is of the Lord, and thy blessing is upon 
thy people. Sela." — As if he had said, * Although 
Shimei with his followers" gnashed their malicious teeth 
at me, saying " There is no help for him in his God," 
&c. ; yet, it is of God alone to bless and save : to whom 
alone be glory for ever and ever. Amen.' 





This Psalm is, according to my views, most obscure : 
and there is no other so variously expounded : which 
diversity is a proof of the real scope of it not being yet 
folly understood. 

Let us first consider the title, as we shall frequently 
have the same hereafter. Lamnazeah, was, before 
the translation of Hieronymus, rendered by the antients 
' to the end :' which they all unanimously interpreted to 
signify Christ, whom the ajmstle calls " the end of the 
law/* Rom. x. 4, saying, " Christ is the end of the law 
for righteousness to every one that helieveth." Which 
u end " they again interpret two ways, — that Christ is 
the end and sum intended by the law; and that he 
himself put an end to the law. Rut what these things 
have to do with the title of the Psalm, I do not see : it 
is only violently taking from one place, and adding to 
another. For all tlic Psalms which have this title do not 
speak of Christ : excepting it !>c in this way : that it is 
by the grace of God only that wc speak of any work, 
and that we have nothing either m-cat or small w ithout 
Christ. But in this way, every Psalm ought to have the 
same inscription. 

Hieronimus, again, has translated it ' for the con- 
queror :* and then was introduced, ' for victory :' because 
Lyranus from Rabbi Tal, supposed that it should be 
understood in this way : — that the Psalm was written 
for this end : that the Levite singers, contending in 
alternate choirs, should strive to excel each other. Hut 
this he said, perhaps, measuring that divine melody of 
David, instituted for the praising of God, according to 
the custom of those bawling men in our cathedrals, 
who are called choristers. But to whom such men sing 
I am sure I know not : I can only hear the beams and 

voi. mi. K 


stones roar with their noise. And then, comparing this 
with the interpretation ' to the end/ which some have 
given ; he says, that the ' end' meant was the victory 
(that is, of the noise in singing) which the choir sought 
after in singing this Psalm. — Such ludicrous things as 
these will men teach in a matter so serious ! 

We read 1 Chron. xv. 16, that David appointed 
three kinds of singers ; one to sing to the nablis, 
that is psaltery ; another to sing to harps, or, (as the in- 
terpreters variously render it) the lyres ; and another to 
sound on cymbals : and to these, for a time, were added 
the trumpet and the cornet. And the third kind of 
singing there mentioned, verse 81, is the singing on 
harps upon Lenazeah, which they have rendered by 

* victory : ' that is, * a song of victory.' And hence per- 
haps it is, that Lamnazeah is translated ' for victory ; ' 
because the Psalm that bears this title is a signal song 
of victory. 

But here I confess my ignorance. For if these things 
be so, I know not why all the other Psalms are not 
entitled ' for victory,' which contain a subject matter 
equally, if not more, applicable to that title than this 
psalm and others like it. And then again, there will be 
a difference of opinion about what victory it is that is 
sung in the Psalm : because, some Psalms celebrate the 
vicfpry of Christ, others the victory of any Christian 
placed in the midst of suffering and temptation. 

John Reuchlin, in his Septena, translates it ' for in- 
vitation : ' because, he will have it, that Psalms of that 
kind are certain incitements to awaken and encourage 
the spirit of man. And to this rendering the root of the 
word admirably agrees. For, as he says, naza signifies 

* he was instant, i he stirred up,' ' he forced, ' he 
urged : ' as in Ezra iv. 8, " To set forward the work of 
the Lord." And moreover, the subject itself of the 
Psalm does not at all disagree with this interpretation : 
for this Psalm, according to my judgment, is merely 
exhortative to the work of the Lord : that is, to the en- 
during of the cross and death. But whether this accept- 
ation of the title will uniformly and universally apply 


to all these Psalms, that I leave to the consideration 
and judgment of the reader. 

I willingly receive this Psalm as being both a song 
of victory, and an invitation: because, all triumphal 
songs of this kind are wont to rouse and animate the 
spirit to war in a wonderful manner : and so also do the 
Psalms wonderfully animate the faithful of Christ both 
to the battles and the trophies of the cross. And thus, I 
can reconcile all things: making the title to signify, 
* to victory/ * to the conqueror,* * for an invitation/ 
And, in a word, this seems to be the true meaning of 
the title, because the whole Psalms tend to this, — that, 
being animated by their incitements of the spirit, we 
may conquer and gam the great object over all our 
enemies and sins ; that nothing may be left us but the 
triumph of glory. 

By " organs," we are undoubtedly to understand, 
that a general kind is put for a particular : that is, that 
we are to receive it as signifying harps : because it is 
said 1 Chron. xv. 21, that the songs of victory should 
be sung to harps. For organ, in this passage, is a 
noun which, in the Hebrew, signifies any kind of musi- 
cal instrument. 

But concerning the effect of music and the.- praises 
of it, I shall say nothing here, for they have l>ecn 
abundantly treated on by other* : excepting that, it 
hf-re appears, that the use of music was of old held 
sacred, and applied to divine tiring* : but in tta? lap*e of 
time, it has, like every thirnx else, been ahu.*ed to the 
service of luxury and hist. It was by music that the evil 
spirit was made to depart from Saul, 1 Sam. xvi. 23. 
And by the same a spirit of prophecy was communi- 
cated to Klisha, 2 Kings iii. 15. 

Tliis most obscure Psalm, as I have already ob- 
served, is variously expounded. Augustine believes, that 
they either are the words of Christ after his resurrec- 
tion, or of a member of his church who is possessed of 
faith and hope. Of Lyra and Burgensis I shall say no- 
thing: the former of whom interpreted in a way that 
made against the Saulites, the latter against idolatries. 


Hieiwunms thinks it is to be understood of Christ only. 
All, and each, of these interpretations and acceptations 
jpre out of my way. I shall follow my own spirit, and 
Inbound in my own acceptation of the Psalm, but without 
«JH*y JH^pwtfce against the judgment of another. 

I baye considered within myself, that this Psalm is a 
jBDeml exhortation to the people of God: especially to 
tnose, who, being ignorant of the works and ways of 
God, hate the wisdom of jthe cross. Among whom, the 
Jews, the children of Israel, have been and still are : and 
£hey are the first who require to be instructed in this 
matter. For as the apostle saith, Rom. iii. 19, " We 
Jcaow that what things soever the law saith, it saith to 
.them who are under the law." Wherefore, David being 
himself experimentally taught by one, or rather, by 
many of his temptations, teaches them, from his own 
example, what they should do and how they ought to 
conduct themselves under every tribulation. And thus, 
according to its title, the Psalm will be an exhortation 
to victory : which the words of the Psalm themselves 
show, whereby he commends himself to them as their 
teacher : saying, ' O ye sons of men,' ' know/ ' be ye 
angry,' * offer sacrifices,' * put your trust,' &c. — As 

Ver. 1 . — When I called, the God of my righteousness 
heard me. 

At the very beginning he instructs the tender and 
fjaerulous : teaching them, that they are not to run any 
where else, but to call upon God in all the tribulations 
that may come upon them, of what kind soever they 
may be. As often, saith he, as I called, (and I called as 
often as I was in tribulation, as he saith Psalm cxx. 1, 
<c In my distress I cried unto the Lord,") so often the 
Lord heard me : so merciful is the Lord, and so ready 
to pity those that call upon him. Why, therefore, do ye 
tender and fearful ones fill all things with complaints ? 
Ye seek consolation in vain by fleeing unto man : and 
ye know not, nor seek after, this only remedy of fleeing 
unto God. 


Observe here the divine art ot" the teacher, and his 
omparable oratory ! In the one same Exordium he 
romplishes three things. First, turning to the children 
roen^ and feeling a concern for them in brotherly 
love, he teaches them all, to what they should flee, when 
der trouble : and this he does from his own example, 
■d with a most modest glorying. I, says he, was wont 
> do that myself which I now recommend to you. — Se- 
onHlv, that he may render them docile and obedient to 
"m, he commends to them the divine mercy. " And 
; heard me," saith he. As if he had said, 1 am per- 
ink-d t hut he «ill also hear you most mercifully, if ye 
lo but take courage and call upon him. — Thirdly, (which 
• thu principal thing of all,) like a most able orator, he 
sins with gratitude and praise, which is, in the things 
"1 of God and men, the most effectual way of pro- 
lacing a willing mind. For thus, we are commanded 
also to begin the Lord's Prayer with ' Our Father ; ' 
repeating and comprehending, in those words and their 
all-sweet corresponding feelings, all the kindnesses 

I of God. 
And the reason why he addresses his words to the 
sons of men, which he ought to address unto God, 
is this ; — he tiki not wish to leave them and to come 
before God alone and empty ; and therefore, he is 
desirous of gaining their good-will; and, being concerned 
for the salvation of his brethren, he instructs the weak. 
For directly afterwards, in what follows, he addresses 
his words unto God only ; saying, " Thou hast en- 
Urged me : " wherein he now brings with him into the 
presence of God those to whom he had spoken just 
before : tliat they may not only see what God did for 
him in his former troubles and tribulations, but may be- 
hold also an example of the manner in which he is wont 
u> nee unto God in every present tribulation : and thus 
be most sweetly instructs and comforts them both by 
word and by example. 

And now, with respect to the words, " O God of my 
righteousness;" it may be also expressed without peril 
thus, "O God my righteousness." For though I do not 



dfcny that the words signify and imply, that righteous- 
ness is of God, and that it is God alone that justifies ; 
yet, the prophet appears to me to touch upon the main 
point of the question or complaint before him : lamely, 
that complaint which the weaker ones are accustomed 
to make : — that they consider themselves to have been 
injured by their adversaries ; and that, therefore, they 
may with justice show indignation and be angry. These, 
therefore, the prophet does not attack with severity; 
but, as I said, tenderly admonishes them, that they are 
to forget their own righteousness, and are to commit it, 
together with their whole cause, unto God who judgeth 
righteously; and to arrogate no more of righteousness 
to themselves, than shall seem good unto God : as Peter 
saith concerning Christ, 1 Epist ii. 23, " who, when he 
was reviled, reviled not again, when he suffered he 
threatened not; but committed himself unto him that 
judgeth righteously," that is, he committed the matter 
unto God, who judgeth righteously. And so also, David 
here saith, Whenever I suffer injuries, I call upon the 
God of my righteousness; being willing and ready to 
take for righteousness that which he shall adjudge. And 
therefore, I know nothing of any righteousness of my 
own; I know nothing but God only and his holy will. 

Is not this then a most excellent way of consoling 
the weak, — not indeed to condemn their cause, nor yet 
to justify it, but to take it out of their hands and to 
commit it unto God; and thus to put both them and 
their cause into his hands; that they may consider that 
to be their righteousness which God may think proper, 
and thus patiently submit to the will of God ? 

This acceptation of the passage I the more willingly 
follow, because "my righteousness/' according to the 
mode of expression used in the scriptures, signifies more 
particularly a man's own cause, than that grace which 
justilieth, for that is more usually called the righteous- 
ness of God; as in Rom. i. 17, "Therein is the right- 
eousness of God revealed from faith to faith/' And 
again, Psalm xxxi. 1, " Deliver me in thy righteousness/' 
(not in mine.) Whereas, in the other case it is said, 


. xix. 33, "So shall my righteousness answer for 

i in time to come." And again, Psalm vii. 8, "Judge 

, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and ac- 

ding to mine integrity that is in me." For this is the 

hteousness between man and man; which also God 

dgeth; though it sufliceth not for any one before God. 

nd therefore, rightly does David call men away from a 

" l their own righteousness, and transfer it over into 

: hand of God, lest perhaps they should be found 

ring to sutler much greater things before God, how 

t soever they may be before men. 

And indeed this is a most useful doctrine, though it 

always neglected by men. For if this doctrine were 

eld and acted up to, there would not be so many courts 

f judicature, and so many causes, laws, strifes, and 

mentions. All men have upon their tongues' ends 

justice*— fight! right! — but there are few who 

limit their justice or righteousness unto God according 

t> the example and the word here set before us. Hence, 

t whole world is in a tumult for justice and right, and 

titend for it by wars, commotions, bloodshed,- and 

numerable enormities of sins and evils: and indeed, 

lings are so, that justice becomes almost the only cause 

: all injustice. For error has so blinded them, that 

they immediately think that to be righteousness orjustice 

before God also, which they may have learnt from the 

dissertations, opinions, and decrees of men, to be justice. 

And concerning this, much more might be said, and ought 

to be said, if we had not now another object before us. 

'Thou hast enlarged unto me when I was in distress. 

This is a repetition: for to be heard, and to be 


enlarged, are the same thing: as we find it also Psalm 
5, " I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord 
answered me, and set me in a large place." 

This, "thou hast enlarged unto me," or this 'en- 
larging,' is a Hebraism, and a metaphor or a metonymy 
peculiar to the scriptures, which we, without a figure, 
call " a comforting:' as, on the contrary, we call sorrow 
affliction 'a straitening.' For as the heart and all 



the ./senses are contracted while they flee from, and are 
fa dread of sorrow; and as, when evil presses on every 
tfjiie, there is then a straiten wg and a total contraction 
Into a confined space : so, the same senses are enlarged 
and dilated, when the evil is taken away, and good and 

E' leasant things are again brought in to us. And indeed, 
ow very descriptively are the natures of distress and 
toy set forth by that expression ? For we see how the 
forehead and the whole countenance are contracted by 
pare and trouble, and dilated by joy and gladness. And 
hence, it is said concerning the wicked, Psalm xviii. 46, 
" They shall be afraid out of their close places." And 
hence, also the Apostle, Rom. ii. 9, joins " tribulation " 
and "anguish" together: that is, evil, and the attempted 
escape from evil, but from which evil there is no escape. 

It appears as if the expression ought to be, " Thou 
hast enlarged me," rather than "Thou hast enlarged 
unto me." But it is a peculiar idiom of the Hebrew 
verbs, to stand absolutely, and to include, elliptically, an 
accusative case of the noun, or to admit of being 
resolved into a verbal noun. As here, "Thou hast 
enlarged unto me:" that is, ' thou hast made an enlarge- 
ment unto me,' 'thou hast been my en larger:' that is, 
thou hast given me consolation whenever 1 have called 
upon thee in my distresses. 

And thus, a willingness of mind is produced, and the 
weaker ones are instructed. Nay, if thou wilt, thou 
mayest understand this verse to be the argument of 
the whole Psalm : for the psalmist proposes to instruct 
the weak to call upon God, to commit their cause into 
the hand of God, to praise the justice of God, and to 
seek consolation no where else, but to expect certain 
consolation from God, with all the great fruits thereof: 
and this he teaches them most effectually by his own ex- 
ample: but yet so, that he joins himself as a companion 
with them, and makes their cases one with his own. 

Have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. 

I confess, saith he, that thou hast ever heard me 
when I called upon thee: for which, I not only give 


Uwe thanks, but rest confidently assured, that, as 
sufferings will hereafter also always abound in us, so 
thou wilt always hear them that call upon thee; under 
which confidence, being now again sunk into distress, 
I again call upon thee that thou wouldest again hear 

And, as these words form, in the Hebrew, the latter 
part of the first verse, I would, according to my judg- 
ment, understand the whole of this verse as being a cer- 
tain form prescribed to the weaker ones, showing them 
Uw way in which they should proceed when in tribu- 
lation from the injustice of others: and I would under- 
stand the last clause of it to be a piece of fore-tasted 
bod, as it were, whereby the prophet would teach them 
as children, and would have them use those words 
whenever they approach God to call upon him; namely 
these, " Have mercy upon me, and hearken unto my 
prayer:" that they may first implore the mercy of God 
upon themselves and for thetr sins, on account of which, 
perhaps, they have deserved far worse things than those 
they now suffer: and that thus, they might first forget 
all revenge, and commit their cause into the hand of 
a ml then beg to l>e heard; for, "The just man first 
&ccu£eth himself/ 1 Prov. xviii. 17. And, 'He that 
pleaseth God pitieth first his own soul,' Eccles. xxx. 
Tlieretbre, the person first implores grace for himself, 
and then prays to be delivered from punishment. — But 
thi» I do not assert positively to be the meaning of the 

But he it so, that this is a new tribulation and a new 

calling upon God; yet still, as I said, we may herefrom 

be instructed, that we are not to be so much concerned 

■boot the punishment, as about the sin; and that we are 

. all to obtain the mercy of God ; lest perhaps, 

lie perverse manner of fools, we should forget our 

. which merited the punishment, and' look only 

at the fault of others, which was designed to work our 

punialioient; thus leaving the beam in our own eye, and 

Ktting about to cast the mote out of our brother's eye. 

w'berca?, he who is in distrep'.. is first of all to pray for 




mercy on the cause of the distress, (which is sin,) not to 
pray against the distress itself. And therefore, God 
must first have mercy, and then hear those on whom he 
has mercy. 

You see, therefore, that the Psalms were given forth 
by the Holy Spirit for this end, that they may admini- 
ster consolation to those who are under tribulation. And 
hence, those who will have nothing to do with tribula- 
tion, can have nothing to do with the Psalms ! And who 
are less willing to have to do with tribulation at this day, 
than those who are employed in the Psalms day and night, 
or rather, who ought to be so employed in them ? Does 
not, therefore, that of Amos vi. 5, apply unto such, 
where it speaks of certain characters inventing unto them- 
selves instruments of music like David ? For how shall 
they harp, who fill the world with bloodshed for the ob- 
taining of their riches, privileges, and rites, not being 
content with their own thundering decrees ? Hence, at 
this day, the Psaltry is used for nothing else but for the 
noise of chautings and mutterings ; which is a use most 
unworthy of it, and yet it is perpetual. 

. Ver. 2. — O ye sons of men, how long will ye be of 
a heavy heart ? Why do ye love vanity, and seek after 
lying? Sela. 

Hieronimus thus translates the passage: " Oye sons 
of the man, how far, my renowned ones, will ye shamefully 
love vanity, and seek after lying ? " This holy man cer- 
tainly touches upon the force of the Hebrew words ; for 
this verse says nothing whatever about the heart ; and 
therefore it is clear, that our translator, whoever he was, 
was in error; and read B for K ; and, what is more, divided 
one word into two; reading, instead of lichlimma, 
(which signifies * into shame,') leb lamma, which 
signifies * heart, why.' And therefore, that which 
Hieronymus has translated, as from one word, * shame- 
fully,' our translator has rendered, as from two words, 
4 heart, why:' and what is in the Hebrew chebodi, 
which our translator has rendered " heavy," Hieroni- 
mus has rendered ' my renowned ones,' or ' my glorious 


ones :' for ' glory,' in the Hebrew, is expressed nearly by 
the same word as ' heaviness' is. 

Nor has the Hebrew "sons of men," but sons isch ; 
that is, * sons of the hero : " just as it is said Psalm i. 1, 
• Ulessed is the man," or " Blessed man." For he is 
not bete speaking of the sons of Adam, so as to mean 
the generation according to the flesh : he does not seem 
to address the sons of the flesh, nor to be speaking as 
to the sons of the flesh : but, he seems to be as a master, 
- preceptor, or one of some greater authority, address- 
■g his minors and sons. 

But, first of all, I will pour out my spirit upon the 
passage, and then we will see to all the rest afterwards. 
I, then, translate the verse thus : "O ye sons of the man, 
bow long will ye turn my glory into shame, love vanity, 
wd seek alter lying? Sela." Hence, these seem to be 
the words of the prophet spoken in the person of God the 
Father, or of Christ, who is speak ing first of all to theJJews, 
■nd then to the Gentiles ; as the apostle is used to speak. 
So that the sense is, O ye sons of Israel, how long shall 
mv name be polluted among you ? How long shall my 
rjory be exposed to shame by you, while, leaving me 
who am the truth and the life, ye love vanity, and seek 
alter lying ? And how this is done let us now see. 

I have said, that this Psalm is an exhortation unto 
those who, from being destitute of faith, are offended and 
cast down in mind at the cross, and at the injuries which 
they receive ; which is the evil of unbelief, and the sin of 
witual idolatry ; and it ia of such sins that the children 
at Israel were accused in the w ilderness ; as it is written 
1'salm lxxviii. 8, " A stubborn and rebellious genera- 
tion; a generation that set not their heart aright, and 
■hose spirit was not steadfast with God." Here, it is the 
tbe heart that is evidently struck at; which was 
i ignorance of the cross, and no understanding in 


of God. For it is said in the same Psalm, ' that 

djey woald none of his counsel;' of which sin they are 
.tensed throughout the Old Testament; and it is from 
this siti that the various external forms of idolatry presently 
arise, diversified according to the infinitely various iucli- 


nations of men : some worshipping this god, and some that ; 
and every one transferring the glory due to God over unto 
the creature ; unto that creature, from which he has pros- 
pect or hope of obtaining the consolation he requires. 

Since, therefore, the glory and worship of God con- 
sist in a sincere faith, firm hope, and perfect love to- 
wards him ; it pf necessity follows, that he who neithef 
trusts nor believes in God, nor loves him, but comforts 
himself in some creature or other, turns the glory of 
God into, shame ; and seeks that name and work in some 
creature whieh he ought to seek in God. And this is 
what all do, who, in the time of temptation, (for it is of 
such in particular that he is here speaking,) draw back. 
And hence it is, that the world, from its beginning to 
this time, has been full of idolatry. And although they 
have not at all times adored the similitudes of creatures, 
yet they have the same things in their hearts, which- are 
the heads and fountains of all idolatries. And this is 
(as I have said) to trust in things and creatures, and to 
be pleased and delighted with them ; which delight, plea- 
sure, and trust, are due to God alone. And this is infi- 
delity and distrust ; and from these come contempt and 
hatred of God. 

Thus, Psalm cvi. SO, " They changed their glory into 
the similitude of an ox that eateth grass:" in which 
verse, is beautifully described the power of idolatry. 
The Psalmist calls the glory of God " their glory," be- 
cause the glory of God, (that is, the true faith and wor- 
ship of God,) was with them only : by which glory of 
God it was, that they had glory both before God and 
men. Hence it is said, 1 Sam. iv. 21, "The glory is 
departed from Israel." And Rom. i. 2S, " They changed 
the glory of the incorruptible God, into an imag» made 
like unto corruptible man." For what is the changing 
of the glory of God, but the changing of the worship of 
God ? For the worship of God is nothing else than the 
glory of God in a very short compendium. And the 
glory of God is nothing else than believing in him, hop- 
ing in him, and loving him. Because, he who believes 
ip him, holds him as true ; and thereby ascribes troth 

ami he who hopes in bun, holds him fis pow- 
erful, wise, and good, and as a God by whom he can he 
bojpen and saved ; and thereby ascribes unto him a 
power that can do all things, a wisdom that knows all 
things, and a goodness that is willing to afford all help : 
uwi this is to make God the true God, and to hold him 
assoch. And then, by and by, there is kindled a love 
in him, who thus from his heart willingly delights him- 
*tt in such a God, and has such an all-precious view 
bmI opinion of him ! Whereas, he that does not believe 
io God, makes him a liar; he that does not hope in 
him, makes him impotent, ignorant, and unwilling to 
help ; which are horrible things ; and from these will of 
necessity follow a contempt of God; and then will come 
on a going over to the creature. For the human heart 
■mt necessarily have something to love, and something 
to believe and trust in : it will cither trust in riches, or 
favour, or its own strength, or in something else of the 
same kind, or in some absurd opinion concerning the 
iroe or a false God that may be published to the world. 
And if, by the permission of God, the man should be left 
to find any comfort therein, he will go after it with his 
whole heart and affections ; and thus, the power, the 
goodness, and all tilings which belong to the glory of 
God, are turned into shame, and given unto that to 
which they are not due. Thus also, Isaiah xlii. 3, " I 
*• Ul uot give my glory to another, neither my praise to 
images." He gives indeed all good things even 
•jDtti his enemies ; but glory he reserves to himself only : 
for all the good things that are sought after or received, 
cannot be ascribed unto any but unto God alone ; whose 
goodness and true divinity are hereby declared. 

If we understand dicse things thus, I think the verse 
b easy to be comprehended : and it shows, that those 
who are ignorant of the cross, and destitute of faith, 
when they once begin to fight against the glory of 
God, soon afterwards pollute and prostitute it, and flee 
tato any thing else rather than unto God for help, and 
leek counsel, assistance, and salvation, not from him 
alone they are, but from his creatures whose 


they are not ; because, they do not believe the last verse 
of the preceding Psalm — " Salvation is of the Lord, and 
thy blessing is upon thy people." 

Let us now, then, see the peculiar force and experi- 
mental contents of this verse. — First, as it is a powerful 
and close exhortation, he addresses those to whom he 
speaks, with the most worthy appellation : " O ye sons 
of the man," saith he. By which " man " whether we 
understand Israel, or Christ, it is one and the same 
thing. Though I should rather understand Abraham, 
because I receive the Psalm as addressed, first, to the 
Jews ; for Abraham is called " the father of many na- 
tions : " and it is said, not in this passage only, but 
Isaiah li. 1 , 2, also, with a like exhortation, " Look 
unto the rock from whence ye were hewn, and to 
the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto 
Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you : 
for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased 
him." As if he had said, Attend, not to die manner of 
your being born from him carnally, but unto my having 
called him, and to his being justified, not by the flesh, 
but by faith in me. And this is what ye ought to be, and 
to do also, if ye would be his children: as it is said 
John viii. 39, " If ye were Abraham's seed, ye would 
do the works of Abraham." 

Hence, as he is not here setting Abraham before' 
them as their father according to the flesh, but is ad- 
vising them to become his spiritual children, he says, 
" O ye sons of the man," rather than, " O ye sons of men.* 1 
And though they are a bastard and spurious offspring 
before God, and boast of Abraham according to th£ 
flesh, being destitute of faith ; yet he condescends to put 
the honour upon them, that he might the more gently 
and effectually make them such as he calls them : just 
in the same way as Paul addresses the Galatians as the 
churches, when they were at the same time seduced and 
removed out of the faith of the church. Nevertheless, 
David by a side- way blow strikes at their degenerate 
mind ; because, though they are the sons of so great a 
hero, they do any thing but show themselves to be such. 

And then, there is that inquiry, "How long?" 
« hie h carries with it a wonderful force: because, it at 
me lime commends to us the astonishing sweet- 
ness of the long-suffering of God, and also pities their 
kmg nnd perilous neglect of their salvation. As though 
he had said, Since ye are, or rather ought to be, the 
sons of so great a man, in whom alone ye make your 
twatt ; how long, at the awful peril of your salvation, 
and by the abuse of the long-suffering of God, will ye 
show yourselves to be such as ye now are? How long 
»ill ye so degenerate, as to be the sons of so great a 
man in name only? And this ye do while ye neither 
believe nor hope in God, in whom he believed. Nay, ye 
turn this glory of confidence in me into your own con- 
fusion and shame, nnd mine also; for ye know not, in 
the time of adversity, that there is no refuge to flee unto 
but myself. For, as I have said by Isaiah, chap. xlvi. 
1, - I have made, and I will Hear: even I will carry and 
will deliver you." Why does another enjoy my glory, 
who cannot fulfil it? Why is not that glory given unto 
ne, who alone am able to do all those things, and am 
willing to do them, and to whom alone all the glory is 
doe? — You see therefore how sweet this expostulation 
t=, and yet how forcible it is. 

And again, this carries with it a powerful weight, — 
his asking how it is, that his glory is turned into shame ? 
not any glory, but his own proper glory ? At the very 
hearing of which, every godly mind ought to tremble. 
For it is a horrible thing to hear that the glory of God 
is turned into shame, and his praise into blasphemy, 
which glory every creature strives to venerate with all 
its powers. And he himself makes this of so much 
moment that he uses an elliptical mode of expression, 
■Knitting the verb by an oposiopesis, or silence; saying, 
"How long my glory into shame?" (that is, will ye 
change, or turn, &c. :) as Paul saith Rom. i. 23, " And 
changed the glory of the uncorruptible God," &c. For 
by this aposiopesis, or silence, he intimates that this 
crime is so great, that it is too awful to be named, from 
the horror of the wickedness implied in it. For, (he 


would bay,) the sin would have been much less if ye had 
abused any of the creatures, and turned them into 
shame, and had brought the glory of my works into 
contempt. But, not only to refuse to give me the glory, 
but even to take it from me wilfully, but to turn it into 
shame, — this is a wickedness at which the very heavens 
themselves may tremble, which the ears cannot endure 
to hear, and which the tongue fears to utter. Behold, 
therefore, with what a power of words our God urges us 
to believe in him, that is, unto our salvation. 

And now, it will be very easy to reconcile the other 
translations with my own, though they do not so expres- 
sively give the true sense of the passage, — " O ye sons 
of men," &c. As if ye would say, ye are indeed the sons 
of men, rather than the sons of man whom ye ought to re- 
present; but ye savour ofthejiesh of him, and of your 
fathers, rather than of their faith. But " how long will ye 
be of a heavy heart." How long will ye be unbelieving iir 
heart and rush backwards under the weight of unbelief, 
resting in a trust in created things, and giving unto crea- 
tures that glory which ye ought to ascribe unto me? 
(which we have already fully set forth.) 

And so also, that rendering of Hieronimus, " O ye 
sons of the man, how long will ye shamefully love 
vanity, and seek after lying ? " As if he had said, This 
is to the shame both of my glory and of yours ; that, 
forsaking all trust in me, ye love something else rather 
than me, who alone am the truth, &c. 

And it is in a beautiful order that David says, first, 
that " vanity" is loved; and then, that "lying" is 
sought after. For there is first of all the affection of the 
mind itself, or the love, or Mill, or desire ; which, if it 
be perverse and wicked, immediately begets wicked, 
false, and lying opinions. And on these two, the will 
and the opinion, turns the whole life of every man, as it' 
is set forth Psalm i. And hence it is that, contrary to what 
Moses teaches, Deut. xii. 8, " Every man doeth that 
which seeraeth right in liis own eyes." And this desire, 
this counsel of the wicked, and these vain thoughts of 
man, the Holy Spirit in this place strikes at, calling 

litem all lies ; and we see the same through the whole 
-vripturcs, as we find it throughout the Psaltry. There- 
tore, the love of vanity turns away the affections ; 
which l>eing turned away, the mind is presently infected 
with false opinions: and thus, as it has a wrong love 
ni things, so does it form a wrong judgment of them : 
and while the man is walking in his own hlinded mind 
through malice, he imagines that he is walking in the 
truth, in wisdom, and in the light, though he is only 
walking in error and his own lies. 

Every word in this passage has its peculiar force. — 
That is " vanity," (as the preacher has throughout his 
hook most copiously set it forth) whatever is not God ! 
And if the salvation which a man seeks after he vain, 
wcfa more shall every thing else be vain? And 
thai truly is vanity, when as man, ignorant of the cross 
and of grace, seeks salvation and help, not in God, but 
in something else : for he can neither find salvation, nor 
any other good, in any thing hut in God : all things else 
are vexation of spirit, and an allurement and tickling 
enticement unto consolation, rather than consolation 
;lt"; and an enticement unto salvation and good, 
her than salvation and good in reality. 

Again, to have vanity, is not the greatest of evils : 
r every man is vanity ; and there is nothing new under 
sun : and though it he an evil, it is bearable. For 
e is no one saint that docs not hope, trust, desire, 
, love, and hate, more or less, in a way and manner 
. he ought not. But this body of sin and death, these 
s a£ sin, these vanities, he ought to hate, not to love 
them, nor to be pleased with tbem. To use the comfort 
and help of a creature is not a sin nor wrong ; but to 
love them and rest in them only, and, from a love of 
them, not to trust in God, is a sin of ungodliness. 

Again, a lie is a less sin and evil than to seek 
lying: for any one may be seduced, and may embrace 
vanity instead of truth : but, to seek it, is sin and un- 
sodliness. For as all men are liars, our seeking is to 
lie. — not how we may obey, and direct our lives accord- 
rag to our own opinions, our onu judgment, or, (as they 

VOL. III. l 


say,) the dictates of oar own reason, but our great seek- 
ing and endeavouring are to be, — how we may be kept 
from obeying these, and how we may be led and guided 
by the dictates and will of God. 

And hence, nothing more pestilential and destructive 
can be taught and delivered to a Christian man, than 
moral philosophy and the decrees of men ; if they be so 
set before him aa to make him believe, that he can walk 
in and by them so as to please God. For by such a 
kind of instruction, it will come to pass, that he, relying 
on this wisdom, will judge, condemn, and persecute 
whatever he sees to make against him, and will thereby 
reject the cross of Christ, and utterly despise the way of 
God ; which then is in its best and most prosperous 
state, when we are living without our own guidance and 
wisdom, and are following, as through a desert and a 
wilderness, Christ in a pillar of fire. This is loving, not 
vanity, but that which is solid and substantial, and 
seeking, not lies, but the truth. Dut all these things are 
better felt by experience in the time of suffering and ad- 
versity, than they can possibly be described in words, or 
imagined by the heart : for there must, as we have said, 
be an experience of these things, to understand the 
words of God : these things must not only be spoken of 
and known, but be experienced in the life, and felt. 
Hence David $aith, Psalm ex vi. 11, "I said in die 
excess of my feeling, all men are liars." Why does he 
call them liars ? Because, being in the extreme of suf- 
fering, and living by faith alone in God, and being 
stripped of all confidence in created things, in which he 
sees all men immersed and overwhelmed, he with cer- 
tainty pronounces all their affections and thoughts to be 
vain, and all their counsels and pursuits to be lies, 
because they are destitute of faith in God : and if they 
are without faith in God, then they are without the 
Word of God : and if they are without the Word of 
God, then they are without the truth. And thus, all 
things are vain and lies which are without faith : for 
faith is truth, on account of the Word of truth in which 
it believes, and to which it cleaves by believing. 


Thus, then, we have the true sense and meaning of 
this verse, — that all are ungodly idolaters and polluters 
of the glory of God, who, under any tribulation, draw 
back from faith, hope, and love, to a confidence and 
comfort in created things, and protect and direct them- 
selves bv those means. 

And, concerning the small word " Sela " we have 
already said enough. It seems to l>c put here also for the 
purpose of denoting a particular feeling of the mind. 
And truly it is a matter to be wondered at, above all 
things, that the whole human race arc so immersed and 
implicated in depraved affections and opinions, that 
they love vanity and seek after lying: and so awfully 
>o, that the matter, from the greatness and extent of it, 
cannot be sufficiently set before us, and impressed upon 
our minds. 

Ver. 3. — And know that the Lord hath made his 
mini to be wondered at [or a wonder :] the Lord wilt hear 
me when I call unto him. 

A most wholesome instruction ! For the reason why 
the sons of men dread the cross, which is the way of 
truth and of that which is substantial, and rather choose 
to follow after vanity and lying, and to tnM in created 
things, is this; — they are in ignorance of God; (as the 
apostle saith, 1 Cor. xv. u For some have not the know- 
ledge of God;") they know not, I suy, what God is 
doins, what he intends, nor what his thoughts art', when 
he tries us bv tribulations : for thev judge like a horn; or 
a. mule, according to that which is licforc their eyes 
and is seen and felt. And in such cases, nothing appears 
to view but shame, want, death, anil all those thing* 
which are shown to us in the sufferings of Christ. And 
if thou view those things only, and do not acknowledge 
the divine will in them, and endure and praise that will, 
thou must of necessity be offended at the cross, ail( ' ^ ri - 
to thine own counsel and w i>dom ; and thu* presently 
become an idolater, and give unto the creature that 
glorv which is due unto God only. 

When Christ, John xvi. 3, showed the reason why 

L C 


the Jews should persecute the apostles, and turn them 
out of the synagogue ; he said, " These things will they 
do unto you, because they have not known the Father 
nor me." But how was it that they did not know, who 
had held such great contentions with Christ about God ? 
To know Christ, is to know the cross, and to under- 
stand God in the midst of the crucifixion of the flesh : 
this is the design of God, this is the will of God, yea, 
this is God. And therefore, their hating and persecut- 
ing the cross, and the Word of the cross, as being con- 
trary to their affections and opinions, which were vanity 
and lies, are the cause of their not knowing God, or, 
(which is the same thing,) of their not knowing the will 
of God. 

And so also, when he said, John vi. 53, " Except ye 
eat my flesh, and drink my blood, ye have no life in 
you :" it was to them " a hard saying;" and many of 
his disciples being offended, from that time forward 
walked no more with him. And why was it " a hard 
saying?" Because, to eat the flesh of Christ, and to 
drink his blood, is to be incorporated into Christ by faith, 
and to have fellowship with him in his sufferings. But 
this, depraved human affection, and the heart that is 
corrupted by perverse opinions, abhor above all things. 

And this is what David alludes to, when he says, 
Fear not ; nor think that ye are perishing, if your own 
affections and senses are destroyed, and if all that ye 
suffer seems contrary to your own opinions. But be ye 
wise, and know the Lord, and understand his will, and 
turn away your eyes that they behold not vanity : for 
the Lord is wonderful in his saints. His work upon 
them is one thins in appearance, but quite a different 
thing in reality. He seems to kill, but in reality makes 
alive : he wounds, but in reality heals : he confounds, 
but at that very time in reality glorifies : he bringeth 
down to the grave, but at that very time rather brings 
up from the grave. And all his works are in tills 
way, concerning which we have said much in that which 

What then is more wonderful than this divine will ? 


It dwelieth indeed on high, and yet hath respect unto 
htngs. It makes men fools, that they may hecome 
i mafcea them weak, that they may become strong. 
But it is the former of these works that appears and is 
felt : the latter thou wilt never arrive at the understand- 
■ unless thou have faith. Thus Peter saith, that 
the prophets foretold, first, of the sufferings of Christ, 
and then of the glories that should follow, 1 Epiatt L 11. 
Therefore, we stand in need of admonition and exhorta- we may be raised up unto the knowing and ac- 
knowledging of God in cases of this kind. " Know, 
(with David,) that he hath made his saint to be a won- 
der." As though he had said, Why are ye thus tossed 
to and fro ? Why seek ye comfort and counsel from this 
quarter and from that? Why do ye love this and that 
consolation ? Vain are all such things. They are not 
only vain, so as not to be able to afford you any help ; 
\ntt they are lies also, and miserably deceive you. " Know 
tnd be assured, hear ye and believe, that it is an 
immutably fixed decree, that, whoever will be a saint of 
God, whoever will obtain his grace, and be acceptable 
ami well pleasing unto him, must so suffer, that God 
*hall l»e wonderful in him ! And thus wonderful he can- 
not be, if the counsel or consolation of yourself, or of 
any other creature, can help you. For all such things 
as are not above and beyond your own ability and com- 
prehension, are not wonderful at all. Cut when ye shall 
be brought to despair in yourselves, and in every other 
created thing, and shall commit and commend your 
cause to the will of God only : then, behold, your righte- 
ousness shall break forth as the light; and then shall 
God bring forth your judgment as the noon-day, Psalm 
xxitTii. 6, in a manner and at a time wholly unthought 
of either by yourselves or any other creature. 

The word " saint " in this passage is, in the Hebrew, 
hasid; because, he is properly a saint who has obtained 
mercy ; and who, as we term it, is justified by grace. 
And we are to receive the expression here as distribu- 
tive, and as containing a definite number for an indefi- 
nite — " Know ye that the Lord hath made his saint 



wonderful ; " that is, his saipts; Which is the same as 
if he had s^id, Know ye that the Lord wonderfully works 
in, and rifles the man, whom he justifies and makes a 
partaker of grace. And from tins learn, that he who 
will please God, must (as I before said) know what this 
good, and acceptable, and perfect counsel and will of 
the Lord, are ? For Paul sqitb, Rom. xii. 2, that this 
•' will " never can be proved, unless ye be " transformed 
by the renewing of your mind;" whereby God always 
destroys our own affections and our own opinion. 

Then foUq^s, " The Lord will hear me," &c. Here 
again he teaches the weak both by word and by exam- 
ple. For he might have referred this to the saint, whom 
he before said was made a wonder ; and have said, 
The Lord will hear him wheu he calls unto him. Or, 
he might have made the former part of the verse accord 
with the latter, and have said, Know ye that the Lord 
hath made me a wonder. But, as I have said, these 
sudden changes of the persons, set forth the wonderful 
varieties and changes in the feelings and affections : we 
are therefore to consider the person of the prophet ac- 
cordingly, and see how concerned he is for the sons of 
men in all this variety ; addressing the saints at one time 
as in a body collected together, at another as mingled 
among sinners, that he might thereby gain all. " The 
Lord (saith he) hath made his saint a wonder : " and, 
(he would add,) if this will not move you, I tell you that 
" the Lord will hear me,' 9 who also am one of the saints ; 
that is, one of those who have obtained his grace. 

And behold the Psalmist's affection and state of 
mind here. He persuades the sons of men to endure 
the hand of God ; but as that matter is done, and stands, 
in faith, he cannot show what nor how it is : for God, 
as I said, does not appear. And therefore, he does the 
utmost that he can do, and all that lies within his power : 
he promises them the help of God. As if he had said, 
I can do this, and this is the only thing that I have it in 
my power to do for your consolation : I can with confi- 
dence promise you that you will be heard. Therefore, 
trust with firmness ; love not vanity, nor turn the glory 


I God into shame; but wait in expectation, and take 
comfort from this my example; for I am most fully 
t-erMiadetl. that the Lord will hear me, not in this hour 
only, but as often as I shall call upon him. 

Thus we see the all-godly concern of a spiritual 
mind for the brethren. David does not dare to l>oast of 
himself; but on account of the need and necessity of his 
brother, he is compelled to bring forth himself as an ex- 
ample : as the Apostle Paul also does in many places : 
thus, " Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of 
Christ," 1 Cor. xi. 1. And again, " We have wronged 
do man,'' 2 Cor. vii. 2. But it was to avoid this boast- 
ing as much EM possible, as it seems, that David spoke 
of the " saint" in the former part of the verse, in the 
third person, that he might not, in vain-glory, boast 
that he was one with whom the Lord dealtwonderfully ; 
and which in the latter part he did omit to speak of; for 
to speak of calling upon God, is not any great incite- 
ment to boasting, but rather a proof of affliction. The 
good Spirit, therefore, teaches us, that, in our being 
made wonderful, (that is, in our tribulation,) we should 
do nothing else but endure our wonder-maker, the Lord, 
and call upon him; and not flee from sufferings, nor 
seek after lies, nor after those things which seem unto 
■s to be right and good ; for such things are alluring 
shadows of all the most destructive. 

Verse 4. — Be ye angry, and sin not: which things 
ye speak in your hearts : and he filled with compunction on 
v-ntr beds. 

The Hebrew, according to the authority of Hieroni- 
mus, is thus, " Be ye angry, and sin not : speak in 
your own hearts upon your beds, and be silent." Whence 
a i* manifest, that the relative pronoun ' which,' (f/ure,) 
and the conjunction ' and,' (et,) ore in our translation 
redundant : and the word, ' be ye filled with compunc- 
tion ' also, has forced our translators into a sense that 
is not agreeable to the original text. Therefore, let us 
iirst consider the Hebrew of the passage. 

~~ i prophet had, in the third verse, called back the 




sons of men from vanity and. lies ; that is, from corrupt 
affections and false opinions; and therefore, as they 
might then say, What shall We next do ? What shall we 
strive after next ? Are we thus to leave all things ? He 
answers them in this fourth verse, by telling them, that 
they should trust in the Lord, and rest upon his mercy ; 
and know, that those things which they should suffer 
from the injurious, would, under the operation of God, 
tend, not to their destruction, but to their salvation ; 
(though in a way altogether wonderful.) 

And if they complainingly ask again, But who is there 
that can avoid being moved and growing angry ? Who is 
there that can help murmurifcg and accusing those -who 
injure them r He kindly replies, " Be ye angry," but 
not so as to " sin " in being angry: I know that the 
motions of anger are not in your own power : but take 
heed that ye consent not to them. Thus Paul saith, 
Gal. v. 16, " Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not ful- 
fil the lust of the flesh." And Rom. vi. 12, " Let not 
sin, therefore, reign in your mortal bodies, that ye should 
obey it in the lusts thereof." And again, Rom. xiii. 14, 
" Make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts there- 
of." All which scriptures tend to this, — to show us, that 
there are evil desires as well of lust as of anger in us, 
but that we are to take heed that they reign not ; that 
is, that we " obey " them not, as Paul saith. Thus he 
complains, Rom. vii. 19, ' That the good that he would 
he did not, but the evil which he would not that he did.' 
And again, verse 25, * That with his mind he served 
the law of God, but with his flesh the law of sin.' And 
how was all this r Because he wished to be free from 
evil desires, but could not ; and to have pure desires 
only, but could not. As he says again, Gal. v. 17, " For 
the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against 
the flesh : and these are contrary the one to the other : 
so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." 

It is manifest, therefore, that the words, " Be ye 
angry," in this passage, are not words of command or of 
exhortation to anger, as being proper, and as being a some- 
thing different from sin; but words of permission or of 

i in the case of anger, though evil, when any in- 
jury is received; on account of the inevitable and invin- 
cible infirmity of the flesh. Thus Augustine, on this 
verse, says, ' " Be ye angry (saith David) and sin not ;" 
that is, although the motion of anger should rise in the 
mind, which now, on account of the punishment of sin, 
"» not in our own power ; yet, let not the mind and will, 
hieh are regenerate within according to God, consent 
nto it; that with the mind we may serve the law of God, 
ough with our flesh we still serve the law of sin.' Thus 
■eaks Augustine excellently and beautifully. The sense, 
lerefore, is plain. " Be ye angry, and sin not : " that is, 
Lsmuch as ye complain that ye cannot help being 
oved, being hurt, being angry, being put into a tremor, 
or the Hebrew word bears all these significations,) un- 
■ so great an evil as an injury received ; Well ! yoor 
ivenly Father knows this your infirmity : Be ye moved 
I angry ; only, proceed not so far as to think, say, do, 
allow, any evil against your own soul, and thus sin 
tiost God, yourselves, and your neighbour. 
This sense I the more willingly embrace, because the 
writ of Paul (which 1 desire always to follow) has the 
ne thing, Ephes. iv. 2, where he saith, " Be ye angry, 
and sin not." And that he does not speak of anger here 
as proper or good, (which would be making it different 
from sin,) is manifest from what follows, " Let not the 
sun go down upon your wrath ;" which he certainly says 
as considering anger to be evil. And indeed it was this 
passage of Paul, that gave me the occasion for expound- 
ing this Psalm, as applying to the injuries and com- 
plaints of the weak ; who are to be restrained by a 
godly exhortation, and by exciting a confidence in God. 
And it is to the same end that Paul uses and applies 
this verse of the Psalm ; as is manifest to every one. 

But here, that question concerning the first motions 
(as they term them) will put forth its head ; and will 
ask, Where the venial sin ends, and where the mortal 
.sin begins ? The Apostle, indeed, gives the setting of the 
i as a limit, when he says, " Let not the sun go down 


upon your wrath/' But this, again, they call into a 
question, Whether we are by this to understand the vi- 
sible sun, which we see set at a certain hour, or the spi- 
ritual sun, Christ, which they think may, as to the human 
senses, set in a moment 

For my part, I always avoid mystical acceptations of 
the scriptures, where there is no cogent necessity for so 
doing, and advise others to do the same, because they are 
very perilous. I cannot suffer myself to understand by 
Paul's " sun " any other than the visible ; though I do 
not condemn that different opinion. 

Moreover, I know that there is no temerity more 
perilous, than the wishing to make a distinction between 
venial and mortal sin, especially in the hour of the com- 
motion of the flesh and of temptation : between those 
sins, I say, which are committed by the motions of the 
raging mind : for . either lust, or indignation, or some 
other motion, is wont to prevail in a man, not for one 
hour only but sometimes for many hours together : and 
in that manner, that he cannot be certain whether he 
consents or not. Nay, very often, by God so ordaining 
it, the feeling of the motion of the good and pure mind 
is so very low and involuntary, and so hidden, that the 
man fears, nay, almost believes, that he has consented. 
By which remedy it is, that the divine mercy is wont to 
keep all its beloved ones, whom he has adorned with 
conspicuous gifts above others in humility, lest, being 
puffed up with them, they should be exalted in pride 
above others, and perish. 

Therefore, the doctrine and rule of the apostle ap- 
pears to me most safe and most wise : — that every man 
should at least return to himself at night; and, if he 
have conceived any anger, should lay it aside before he 
goes to sleep, and be reconciled to his brother. For no 
other time more proper can be appointed for this pur- 
pose, than the setting of the sun, and the end of the day, 
when all business and all works and labour, &c. are 
finished, and when the mind is now more quiet, and in 
a proper state to lay aside this and every other feeling of 


malice, whether there has been a consenting unto it or 
not. For who can understand his errors ? And in every 
work we are to fear the all-strict judgment of God. 

It now follows, " Commune with your own hearts 
upon your beds, and be silent** It is manifest, that 
' upon your beds/ ' into your beds, 9 and * in your beds/ 
all signify the same thing: for, in the Hebrew the 
words imply motion to a place : which same figure of 
speech Christ uses, Matt vi. 6, " But thou, when tliou 
prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut 
thy door/' &c. 

And now, I must follow a most unskilful master, (as 
we are accustomed to say,) that is, my own self : for I 
have never seen this Hebrew text explained to my 
liking by any one : and as far as I can I will follow my 
own spirit 

It is the custom of those who suffer injury to burst 
out, make a clamour, and fill all cars with complaints : 
which is the reason why the apostle, Ephesians iv. 31, 
enumerates " clamour " among the effects of anger : 
saying, " Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and 
clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from you/'&c. 
And therefore, the prophet, with a design to prevent the 
sons of men from thus breaking out, as he had per- 
mitted them to be angry in the first motion of their 
mind, and yet not so as to sin ; so now he teaches 
them, that they should make no tumult at all, hut com- 
mune and talk with their own hearts upon their beds. 
Thereby expressively showing them, what they should 
do to prevent themselves from sinning when moved 
with anger: namely, that they should commune \*ith 
themselves, and be silent and still : which I do not 
understand otherwise than according to that of the 
prophet Isaiah, chap. xxx. 15, " In quietness and con- 
fidence shall be your strength." For the silence hen? 
spoken of, is not that which is kept by the mouth, hut 
that patience and rest which are the contraries to 
tumult : as it is expressed also Psalm xxxvii. 7, " Be 
silent to the Lord, and pray unto him." And Psalm 
lxv. 1, " Praise is silent for thee, C) God, iu Zion." 


And again, Isaiah xli. 1, " Keep silence before me, 

islands : and let the people renew their strength." 

But finally, to be silent, according to the figurative 
mode of the scriptural expression, is of the same signifi- 
cation as, to lay aside ones impetuosity, to mitigate ones 
fury, to bridle ones mind : which we Germans in our 
vernacular language express, by saying to those whom 
we would restrain when angry, * Still, still, halt in ! ' 
And hence tomb is in the Hebrew expressed by duma, 
from this true and real silence : because, there a man 
ceases from every thing, and remains wholly in silence. 
And therefore, Isaiah had said just before in the same 
chapter, ver. 12, 'Ye trust in caliimny and tumult: 9 
for the mind of those who are angry and offended, is irri- 
tated to calumny and tumult : whereby it presumes that 
it shall obtain revenge and prevail. But, restraining this 
irritated state of mind, he saith, " In returning and rest 
ye shall be saved : " for you will overcome, not by 
making a tumult, but by remaining still. And then it 
follows, " and in quietness and confidence shall be your 
strength:" that is, if ye keep silent, and remain still, 
bridle your impetuosity, abstain from tumult, and not 
seek revenge, but wait for my hand, and leave all 
revenge unto me, and deliver your cause into my hand, 
behold then ye shall be strong, and shall overcome : for 

1 will fight for you, butye shall be still. 

Thus Moses saith, Exod. xiv. 14, " The Lord shall 
fight for you, but ye shall hold your peace." What 
mean these words, " Ye shall hold your peace ?" They 
mean, ye shall be still: ye shall do nothing in the 
matter, but shall act just as if it did not at all concern 
you. This being in peace and still, therefore, is nothing 
else than exercising a quiet patience : which is a figure 
of speech most common in the holy scriptures. 

Hence Isaiah, in the above-mentioned place, when 
they would not listen to the admonition and exhorta- 
tion to keep silence, saith, " But ye said, No ; for we 
will flee upon horses, and we will ride upon the swift" 
And what is this, but desiring to defend themselves by 
tumult, and not to wait to become strong and saved by 


> and confidence. And therefore it follows in 
s same passage, " Therefore shall ye flee : and there- 
iure shall they, that pursue you he swift One thousand 
" iall flee at the rebuke of one : at the rebuke of five 
id ye flee: till ye shall he left as a beacon upon the 
> pi a mountain, and as an ensign on a hill." From 
■ words, then, I think it is quite clear, what it is to 
silent and still, and, what it is to make a tumult. 
OOe is, to remain in patience and quietness: 
the other, to be moved and to put every thing else 
in commotion ; and (as we say) to confound heaven 
and earth. The former, is the silence which this verse 

The meaning of the passage is, therefore, " Com- 
une with your own hearts upon your beds : " that is, 
i we should say,) ponder, deliberate, be not precipi- 
e, nor immediately bring forth that which your anger 
<ay suggest. First consult with yourselves, " for the 
ath of man worketh not the righteousness of God," 
. 'Jo. Ami, ;is a heathen writer has also written, 
et nothing he done or said in anger.' And Gregory 
i said, ' It is better to avoid anger by silence, than 
. overcome it by reply.' 

And now, let us look at the words particularly. 
Fir*t we have " Commune (or speak) with your own 
hearts : " that is, Let them meditate well with them- 
selves, and not obey the motions of their anger, which is 
precipitant, and which always has its words upon the 
tiKigue and not in the heart : according to that of 
Ecclesiasticus, chap. xxi. 26, " The heart of fools is in 
their mouth: hut the mouth of the wise is in their 
heart." A beautiful and excellent antithesis, or contra- 
ries* ! And the same admonition is given in the present 
-that we should turn our mouth to our heart, 
and not immediately utter forth what the temptation 
may suggest. For to have our heart in our mouth, 
peak imprudently; which is what persons in 
a passion generally do. But to have our mouth in our 
heart, is, to speak prudenUy ; which those do who are 
still and quiet. And therefore, we may use the same 


antithesis or contrariety in this place : and say, that, to 
speak in our hearts and to think in our mouths (if I may 
so say) are contrarieties, or opposites ; the one, being a 
mark of wise men ; the 6ther, of fools. 

But, that they may the more conveniently commune 
with, or speak to, their hearts; he adds, that they 
should do this upon their •' beds : " that is, that they 
should seek a solitude, and avoid all the irritation of a 
crowd. For when the body and ail external tumults are 
reduced to quiet, the mind may be the more easily 
stilled, so as to be in k state to commune and meditate 
with itself. But, as avoiding the crowd, and seeking so- 
litude, are useful under this temptation, so are they pe- 
rilous under many other temptations. — These things have 
I spoken according to my own mind, without prejudice 
against any other expositor. 

And now, in what way shall I -make our received 
translation out, so as that it shall accord with the 
Hebrew? We must of necessity understand some other 
verb ; as Augustine also says, who disposes our common 
translation thus, " Which things (or the things which) 
ye say in your hearts. " Here understand, says Augus- 
tine, the verb * say ; ' thus, " The things which ye say, 
say in your hearts." And what he thus turns may be 
made to accord with my rendering in this way. — 
Seeing; that, when angry, ye are prompted to say what- 
ever comes first upon your tongue; do not precipi- 
tately utter abroad what ye wish to say, but speak it 
in your hearts: that is, speak wisely what ye desire to 
speaik. For according to this figure of speech, Christ 
scud f to Judas, " What thou doest, do quickly :" that is, 
what thou desirest to do, or what thou hast already 
proposed to do. So here, the things which ye say : that 
is, What ye wish to say, say in your hearts. What, from 
your impatience of anger, ye wish to say foolishly, take 
care to meditate in your hearts, that ye may speak 

And lastly, how shall I reconcile this; "And be 
filled with compunction on your beds." What concord 
can there be between 'silence' and * compunction ? ' 


opinion there may be this concord ; that, by 
irntng to his heart, the angry man feels a compunc- 
dissatisfied with himself that he has been 
thus moved to anger; and therefore, by the fore- 
mentioned silence, fie comes by the shortest way to the 
force of compunction. Hence, while he communes or 
talks with tna heart (especially when on his bed, or sitting 
alone,) he sees how foolish his commotion and impatience 
of anger were, which, if he had followed up, he would 
have basely fallen. And thus, being changed by his com- 
nction, lie refrains from the tumult to which he was 
>vetl, and now remains still and in silence, the flame 
of revenge being not a little extinguished.— He that can 
a better exposition of the passage, let him commu- 
ite it witliout envy. This is the best that I can 

I have already sufficiently shown what " Sela" at 

end of this verse signifies. — It is a signal gift of 

for that man, who has been provoked to anger and 

ipatience by injury and the like temptation, to exercise 

feelings here required, to refrain his tongue, and to 

himself aside into secret, and remain silent. 

t it is to this end that Paul (as I said) handles this 

Im, Ephes. iv. where he says at the end, ver. 32, 

' And l>c ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, 

forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake 

bath forgiven you." 

Ver. 5. — Sacrifice the sacrifice of righteousness, and 
hope in the Lord. 

An admirable doctrine this ! And what is this sacri- 
fice ? Who can otter unto God righteousness, when we 
ought rather to ask of God for all our sacrifices ? David 
here distinguishes, in a few words, the sacrifice of righte- 
ousness, from all the sacrifices of cattle and of all other 
things. For these two sacrifices are directly opposed to 
each other. The sacrifice of righteousness makes men 
righteous : the sacrifice of things makes them sinners. 
In the latter, we seem to give something unto God, and 
to work a righteousness : in the former, we only express 



our desire to receive of God, and to ' confess our sins* 
Hence it comes to pass, that the sacrifice of things, 
while it puffs us up with self-righteousness and works, 
renders us impatient of injuries, making us appear to 
ourselves to be persons of much and great merit; and it 
inflames us the more unto revenge, because we then, as 
it were, stand up in defence of our own righteousness. 
The sacrifice of righteousness, therefore, is to justify 
and praise God, and to confess ourselves sinners and 
worthy of all those things which we suffer ; and causes 
us to exclaim with Psalm cxix. 137, " Righteous art 
thou, O Lord, and upright are thy judgments/' As it is 
described also by a most beautiful example, Daniel iii. 
[Song of the Three Children, chap. i. 45, Apocrypha, 
continuation of Daniel iii.] " Wherefore, all that thou 
hast brought upon us, and every thing that thou hast 
brought upon us, and every thing that thou hast done 
unto us, thou hast done in true judgment: and thou 
didst deliver us into the hands of lawless enemies." 
And again immediately following, verses 16, 17, " Ne- 
vertheless, in a contrite heart and humble spirit let us 
be accepted. Like as the burnt-offerings of rams and 
bullocks, and like as in ten thousands of fat lambs ; so 
let our sacrifice be in thy sight this day, and grant that 
we may wholly go after thee : for they shall not be con- 
founded that put their trust in thee." And Baruch i. 1 5 
teacheth the Babylonian captives the same thing, " And 
ye shall say, To the Lord our God belongeth righteous- 
ness, but unto us the confusion of faces ; as it is come 
to pass this day unto them of Judah, and to the in- 
habitants of Jerusalem.' 9 

But this sacrifice must be offered out of a true 
heart and mouth, and with a true work : out of a heart 
truly acknowledging its sin, out of a mouth confessing 
unfeignedly, and with a work that willingly beareth the 
punishments which are inflicted. For there are many 
who say with their mouths that they are sinners, but do 
not feel the same in their hearts, and evince it in their 
works. Which they manifestly show, by their being un- 
willing to be called and accounted sinners by others, and 


to suiter injuries. But, if lliou art a sinner, why dost 
thou flee from the punishments? And if thou dost not 
appear to thyself to deserve the name of sinner, why 
m call thyself one ? — The glory of the righteous 
j-. tfaat they have "honour and peace" laid up for 
them: but the things that are laid to sinners are "tribu- 
lation and anguish," Rom. ii. y, 10. 

Those, therefore, who ascribe unto God righteous- 
ness, and unto themselves sin, with a true heart, — -these 
are they who sacrifice those two sacrifices of righteous- 
ness commended in the scriptures. The one of which 
may be called the morning sacrifice ; concerning which 
I's. 1.23. saith, "The sacrifice of praise will honour me: 
■nil that is the path wherein I will show him the salva- 
tion of Clod."' The other is the evening sacrifice : con- 
cerning which Psalm li. 17, saith, "The sacrifices of 
God tire a broken spirit : a broken and a contrite heart, 
O Ciod, thou wilt not despise." And perhaps this is 
what the verse before us signifies ; which, in the Hebrew, 
has 'sacrifices' in the plural number; "Sacrifice the 
sacrifices of righteousness:" so that it includes both 
•ocritices. * .'. • 

In every temptation, and under every injury, there- 
fore, we are not to arrogate righteousness to ourselves 
and hold it fast, but to take it utterly from ourselves, and 
ascribe it unto God ; and they that do not this, are im- 
mersed in self-excuses, accusations of their adversaries, 
self-justifications, and all kinds of judgings, detractings, 
:-. quarrel lings, contending?, nrawlings, and those 
other works of the flesh which the apostle enumerates, 
Gal. v. And it comes to pass, that, by mutual bitings, 
such are consumed, not only in gpirit, all love being lost, 
but not unfrequently in body also, by mutual slaughters 
and by possessions spent in litigations. 

But you will say, perhaps, If Christians used always 
these sacrifices of righteousness, what would become of 
ordinances and laws r But, we are for this end taught 
these sacrifices, that we might have no need of ordi- 
nances and laws.— Thus, the King of Babylon acted 
lawlessly in leading the children of Israel captive, as the 

vol. in. si 


Three Children say, chap* i. 9, " Thou hast delivered 
us into the hands of lawless enemies, most hateful for- 
sakers of God, and to an unjust king, and the most 
wicked in all the world." And yet King Zedekiah, and 
those who were left in Jerusalem, by resisting right- 
eousness and expostulating with God, offended him 
much more. Whereas^ those who, laying aside all 
boasting in their own righteousness, committed them- 
selves unto God, greatly pleased him. So that, the 
latter were preserved, honoured, and multiplied in 
Babylon in the midst of enemies ; while the former at 
Jerusalem, in the midst of friends, perished, were con- 
founded, and decreased. Because, the latter of the cap- 
tivity sacrificed the sacrifices of righteousness without 
cattle or any such things : but the former offered the 
sacrifices of cattle and of created things, without right- 
eousness, because they wished to be righteous in them- 
selves, and did not acknowledge their sins: whereas, 
those of the captivity did acknowledge their sins, and 
ascribed righteousness unto God. 

From this, therefore, we understand, that all that 
chaos and dark abyss of forensic causes and Roman 
art*, together with the whole mass of books, waxen 
tables, morals, uses, ordinances, and all such judicial 
righteousnesses, are matters totally foreign to a Christian 
man ; and have nothing to do with that holy life of the 
church which is in sincerity ; and are only tolerated for 
the safety of the weak, that they 'may not do worse 
things in their desire of revenging themselves, and may 
not be overcome by the power of impatience. But at the 
present day, Rome and the episcopal senate, so wholly 
devote themselves to ^iis judicial righteousness, that 
they not only imagine that righteousness rules there, 
hut, for the sake of increasing this kind of righteousness, 
they even procure strife by strife; yea, they call to 
themselves the quarrels and contentions out of every 
corner of the whole world ; so that there never was a 
senate-house of any Emperor, either gentile or profane, 
filled with such a confusion of affairs and causes ; and 
those the most profane ; and yet, (which may perhaps 

Iff 3 

excite a wonder) the whole ie about sacred and divine 
things most basely bought, redeemed, sold, re-sold, 
taken by force, and squandered away. Those lawyers 
call the Roman senate, at this day, the fountain of justice 
and righteousness ; whereas, it ought more properly to 
be called a deluge of iniquity : for it is from thence that 
the destruction and the oblivion of those sacrifices of 
righteousness and of the knowledge of Christ proceed, 
waach have spread themselves with such force and vio- 
lence throughout the whole world. In a word, Rome, 
at this day, far more nearly resembles the kingdom of 
heil than the kingdom of heaven. 

But perhaps some will say, Be it so, that we give up 
aD righteousness and confess that we are sinners, and 
condemn ourselves to all the desert of sinners : What 
then r Are we to perish anil die in our sins? Does not 
God hate sinners ? Into what peril dost thou draw us by 
this thy doctrine? — David answers you thus : Be of 
war: only hope in God. For thus the compa- 
nions of Daniel did, chap. iii. (Three Children, chap, 
i. 6, Apocrypha,) " For we have sinned, and committed 
iniquity." But afterwards, being raised up to hope, they 
«V. ver. 17, " For they shall not be confounded that 
pat their trust in thee." This is what I before spoke upon 
from Isaiah xxx. 15, " In quietness and confidence 
shall be your strength." That is, We are not to avenge 
ourselves as if we were righteous, but are to suffer in 
silence without tumult; confessing our sins, committing 
nor cause into the hand of God, and expecting his 
mercy with a believing confidence. For he that shall 
cane will come, and will execute judgment in favour of 
them that suffer injury, and will avenge the poor: and 
thus, God will make his strength pertect in our weak- 
ness. For, if our confidence in our own righteousness be 
not taken away, and if we do not confess ourselves 
sinners and worthy of any and every evil, salvation and 
hope can have no place in us; for God will only have 
respect unto the humble. 



Ver. 5. — There be many that say, Who will show us 
any good? Lord, the light of thy countenance is sealed 
upon us. 

This verse is with us divided : the former part of it 
being joined .to the former verse, and the latter part to 
the latter verse. The Hebrew, according to the transla- 
tion of Hieronimus, is thus, " There be many that say, 
Who will show us any good ? Lord, lift thou up the light 
of thy countenance upon us/' But I think the verse 
should be rendered and punctuated thus, " There be 
many that say, Who will show unto us any good sign 
upon us ? Lord, the light of thy countenance." 

David, however, turns his words unto God, in a way 
of complaint, (but with admirable reverence - and mo- 
desty,) lamenting on account of the unbelieving, and 
those that will not be persuaded : such as were the stiff- 
necked Jews more especially, because they could not 
believe those who rightly advised them, unless, as 
Christ says, they should see signs and wonders. Thus the 
apostle saith, 1 Cor. i. 22, " For the Jews require a 
sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom." Hence it 
comes to pass, that they are always offended at the 
Word of the cross and the doctrine of faith. And this 
is what David here says : that when he had advised 
them to. cast away all their own righteousness, and to 
hope in God, and expect all good from him, he 
offended those who would not believe him, and who 
would not be prevailed upon to hope, unless they saw 
some good sign, by which they may be assured concern- 
ing the future good which they were commanded to hope 
for. " Who (say they) will show us any good sign upon 
us." Who will assure us that these good things will 
come unto us ? By what sign is it manifest that we shall 
receive those things? As if they had said, All things ap- 
pear quite the contrary : and the worst signs of things 
seem to be upon us on all sides. Men of this kind are 
every where numerous, who tempt the Lord with this 
unbelief, like the children of Israel in the. wilderness. 
And from this same source you may trace a whole 

sea of superstitions and of the most foolish desires even 
among Christians, if the wind does not blow just so as 
to please them, if their crops seem to be in danger, 
even if their leg pains them, or if they are visited, or 
fear they shall be visited, with any temporal inconve- 
nience or loss. For in all these cases, how anxious are 
«e to know, by means of some good sign, that these 
things will not come upon us, or, that we shall be deli- 
vered from them if they should come. We run here and 
there to magicians, to diviners, yea, to devils also : and 
the devices and ways are innumerable, by which we 
endeavour to avoid this one thing, — hoping in God : or 
at least, that we might not be compelled to hope in him 
without some good and certain sign. — The miser hopes 
in God, but it is only whilst his purse keeps filling, and 
his barn continues to be stored with corn : the strong 
man hopes in him also, but it is only as long as his 
strength is sound : the powerful and ambitious man 
hopes in him, but it is only as long as the authority of 
his name and his power prevail : because, by these good 
signs, they seem to themselves to be sure that they 
have God propitious unto them : but if any one of 
these things should fail, their hope fails with it, unless 
some other or greater sign show itself forth to their 

And so it is also in spiritual things, in the remission 

sins, and the peace of the conscience : wherein, not 

t prepare to themselves a security, not by faith, nor 

>pe, but by a confidence in their owrr works, or by 

t others think of them. And indeed, in every temp- 
tation, these seek to themselves a good sign as a some- 
thing whereon to rest their hope; without which, they 
will not hope at all; and therefore, they do not hope in 
God, because they do not hope purely ; for, " hope that 
is -t-«:*n, is not hope," Rom. viii. 24. 

The Psalmist might have spoken of all these, men- 

g them by their names ; such as tempters of God, 

unbelieving, sons of distrust, infidels, and stiff-necked 

rcFtels. But, not mentioning their names, he sets forth 

iheir work only, and that in the most simple and modest 



Ver. 5. — There be many that say, Who will show us 
any good? Lord, the light of thy countenance is sealed 
upon us. 

This verse is with us divided : the former part of it 
being joined to the former verse, and the latter part to 
the latter verse. The Hebrew, according to the transla- 
tion of Hieronimus, is thus, " There be many that say, 
Who will show us any good ? Lord, lift thou up the light 
of thy countenance upon us/' But I think the verse 
should be rendered and punctuated thus, " There be 
many that say, Who will show unto us any good sign 
upon us ? Lord, the light of thy countenance/ 

David, however, turns his words unto God, in a way 
of complaint, (but with admirable reverence and mo- 
desty,) lamenting on account of the unbelieving, and 
those that will not be persuaded : such as were the stiff- 
necked Jews more especially, because they could not 
believe those who rightly advised them, unless, as 
Christ says, they should see signs and wonders. Thus the 
apostle saith, 1 Cor. i. 22, " For the Jews require a 
sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom." Hence it 
comes to pass, that they are always offended at the 
Word of the cross and the doctrine of faith. And this 
is what David here says : that when he had advised 
them to cast away all their own righteousness, and to 
hope in God, and expect all good from him, he 
offended those who would not believe him, and who 
would not be prevailed upon to hope, unless they saw 
some good sign, by which they may be assured concern- 
ing the future good which they were commanded to hope 
for. " Who (say they) will show us any good sign upon 
us." Who will assure us that these good things will 
come unto us ? By what sign is it manifest that we shall 
receive those things? As if they had said, All things ap- 
pear quite the contrary : and the worst signs of things 
seem to be upon us on all sides. Men of this kind are 
every where numerous, who tempt the Lord with this 
unbelief, like the children of Israel in the. wilderness. 
And from this same source you may trace a whole 

ht of the countenance of God : (that is, an 
lent of, and confidence in, a present God.) 
loes not know, and does not fee], that God 
:li him, does not yet believe, and has not 
of God's countenance. 

not, therefore, whether the light of the 

of God be understood actively, as that by 

present with us, be illuminates us, by 

lith in us : or passively, as signifying the 

lith itself, by which we believe with confi- 

«1 his countenance and presence. For, in 

iptures, face, or countenance, signifies pre- 

well known. And therefore, an illuminat- 

d an illuminated heart, are one and the 

as are also, God seen by us, and God 

is is the meaning of the name Israel, by 

was called when he had seen the Lord 

For by bis face he saw the face of God : 

was made present with him by faith, be- 

sre, brought before his face : and he, on 

Jid, beheld God present with him, and 

him, and, as it were, brought before his 

ence it is also that Israel is said to be 

i : that is, he was one that was ruled of 

led by him in a right way. And this is 

of faith : and therefore, Israel is the same 

»eliever: except that, Israel sets forth 


words, " There be many, (saith he,) that say, Who 
will show us any good ; " leaving th& judgment on their 
work unto God, and to those with whom it ought to be 
left: because, with a godly affection, he -rather pities 
them, and grieves for their state, than bitterly accuses 

Hence, David condemns the error of such ; and 
shows that there is not that good sign upon us to be 
looked for which they seek after; and that God is not 
propitious unto those on whom he abundantly bestows 
such things. Nay, because such things are the worst and 
most fallacious signs, he brings forward a much better 
and more sure sign : namely this, " The light of thy coun- 
tenance, O Lord." As if he had said, To know no sign, 
but to rest in God by faith and hope only, is the best 
sign. ' For whosoever trusteth in him shall not be con- 
founded : ' as it is said Daniel iii. (Three Children, 
chap. i. 17, Apocrypha.) They are folly satisfied con- 
cerning all good things, who, without any sign whatever, 
firmly believe in God : without which faith, no works, 
no signs, no miracles, can make a man certain. 

And, faith is most rightly called ' the light of God's 
countenance,' because it is the illumination of our mind 
inspired from on Ugh, and a ceFtain ray of the divinity 
conveyed into our heart ; by which, every one is saved 
and directed, who is saved. As it is described Psalm 
xxxii. 8, " I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way 
which thou shalt go : I will guide thee with mine eye." 
And Psalm xliv. 3, " »For they got not the land in pos- 
session by their own sword, neither did their own arm 
save them : but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the 
light of thy countenance." And again, Psalm lxxxix. 15, 
" They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy counte- 
nance." And hence it is that David exults, Psalm 
xxvii. 1, " The Lord is my light and my salvation." 

This was prefigured in the " pillar of tire," and in 
the " cloud," by which the children of Israel were 
ruled and led through the desert. For, just in the same 
way, it is by faith alone that we are led through ways 
that we know not, and in paths wherein there is no 'help 




of man to be found ; that is, through sufferings and tribu- 
lations. And as, in the former case, the pillar of fire 
m with them, and went before their face: so here, 
faith has God present. So that the illumination of the 
heart proceeds, as it were, from the countenance of the 
present God : and hence, it is most rightly and properly 
Jled, the light of the countenance of God : (that is, an 
Jcnow ledgment of, and confidence in, a present God.) 
'or he that does not know, and does not feel, that God 
is present with him, does not yet believe, aud has not 
yet the light of God's countenance. 

It matters not, therefore, whether the light of the 
countenance of God be understood actively, as that by 
which, being present with us, he illuminates us, by 
lighting up faith in us : or passively, as signifying the 
I the faith itself, by which we believe with confi- 
dence, and feel his countenance and presence. For, in 
the Holy Scriptures, face, or countenance, signifies pre- 
sence ; as is well known. And therefore, an illuminat- 
ing God, and an illuminated heart, are one and the 
same thing: as are also, God seen by us, and God 
present. — This is the meaning of the name Israel, by 
which Jacob was called when he had seen the Lord 
face to face. For by his face he saw the face of God : 
that is, God was made present with him by faith, be- 
ing, as it were, brought before his face : and he, on 
the other hand, beheld God present with him, and 
ready to help him, and, as it were, brought before his 
face. And hence it is also that Israel is said to be 
'* led" of God : that is, he was one that was ruled of 
God alone, or led by him in a right way. And this is 
done by means of faith : and therefore, Israel is the same 
as faithful, or believer: except that, Israel sets forth 
the power and measure of faith with wonderful pro- 
priety. — Therefore, " Blessed is the man (as David saith, 
Psalm xciv. 12,) whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and 
tcachest him out of thy law." For by Jeremiah xviii. 17, 
he threatens the Jews ' that he will show them the back 
and not the face :" that is, that he will leave them in 
unbelief and ignorance of God. 


We see, therefore, what a good sign upon us is : or, 
we see who will show us good : namely, faith. Faith, I 
say, because it is the light which shows us the presence 
and the countenance itself of God : that is, it shows us 
all good, even God himself, while it brings him before 
our face, and works in us a confidence in him. Thus no 
man can of himself teach another these things. 

And now it will be easy to make the other interpre- 
tations harmonize with this. 

' The common reading is very near to this sense, — 
" O Lord, the light of thy countenance is sealed upon 
us." The characters of whom we first spoke seek after 
a God that will show them some good : desiring rather 
to see those things visibly before them, than to believe 
that they shall have them. But, the believing characters 
of whom I spoke last, do not desire that this sign 
should be shown them, but glory, that the light of the 
countenance of God (that is, the knowledge of, and con- 
fidence in, a present God, as I before said,) is sealed 
and impressed upon them ; as we may plainly under- 
stand from the words of the verse. 

And with respect to the rendering of Hieronimus, 
u There be many that say, Who will show us any good : 
Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon 
us : " this is the same sense, only given in the form of a 
petition. For God does lift up the light of his counte- 
nance upon us, when he lifts us up by that light. For 
faith is a light above all our faculties and powers. And 
hence, this lifting up, is nothing else than pouring out 
upon us that light of faith, which is in itself most high, 
whereby we are lifted up. And hence also it may be 
3aid to be 'fixed' or " sealed :" because it is enclosed and 
incomprehensible to us, and yet comprehending us and 
leading us captive into an obedience unto it. 

Hence it is certain, that this verse cannot be under- 
stood concerning natural reason as being the great direc- 
tor ; according to the opinion of many, who say, ' that 
the first principles of morals spring from themselves ; ' 
for all such things are speculative and false. Faith is 
the first principle of ja\l good works : and this is so 


bidden and unknown, that all reason utterly shrinks 
from it. Reason, when at the summit of its power and 
ftmfmd & Da, can only say, " Who will show us any 

odr"* For we find that " many" say this: that is, 

i who are led and guided by reason. 

Ver. 7. — Thou hast put gladness in my heart. They 
• multiplied by the fruit of their corn, and wine, 
f oil. 

The former part of this verse is, with us, joined to 
the verse preceding ; which, with the one that follows it, 
makes, in the Hebrew, one verse ; and which Hieroni- 
mus has rendered thus, " Thou hast put gladness in my 
heart, from the time that their corn, and wine, and oil 

According to my judgment, this verse draws the 
line of distinction between the believing and the unbe- 
lieving : — that the God of the one is the true God, hut 
the God of the other their belly. For faith in God, or 
the light of the countenance of God, gladdens the heart, 
and diffuses throughout the inward man a solid and 
true joy, while it produces a peace on account of sins 
forgiven, and gives the man a sure confidence in God 
even in the midst of sufferings : for there can be no 
joy, no peace, but in a pure conscience. Hence Paul, 
•22, enumerates "joy" among the fruits of the 
Spirit. And David says above, ver. 1, "Thou hast en- 
larged me when I was in distress." And hence it comes 
to pass, that as the sutferings of Christ abound in us, so 
does the consolation of Christ abound in us also, 
through that faith whereby we rest in him : as Paul 
baitb, 2 Cor. i. 34, " Blessed be God, even the Father 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and 
the God of all comfort ; who comforteth us in alt our tri- 
bulation." For who can but rejoice, and even exult over 
all the evils of the world, and of hell itself, saying, with 
"'■ill, Horn. viii. 31, "If God be for us, who can be 

n-t u* ?" if he helieve that God is witli him and for 
But, when will he ever believe firmly that God 
r him, unless, from being proved by various tempta- 



tions, and having had his faith exercised, he has thereby 
learnt that God is for him ? 

It cannot be, therefore, but that the man must re- 
joice with his whole heart, who has the light of the coun- 
tenance of God. For such an one, because he is 
righteous, has peace : and hecause he has peace, he re- 
joices : and because be rejoices, he fears no one, and ex- 
ultingly triumphs over all things, even over death and 
hell, being certain that he has die approving presence of 
his God. And hence, after " O Lord, the light of thy 
countenance/ 9 it follows, " Thou hast put gladness in 
my heart." As we have it aiso Psalm lxviii. 3, M But 
let the righteous be glad : let them rejoice before God : 
yea let them exceedingly rejoice." 

But what shall we say, in the opposite, concerning 
the unbelieving ? Have they ever any joy and gladness 
of heart? No ! For there is no peace to the wicked, nor 
any joy to the ungodly, as Isaiah saith, chap, xlviii. 22. 
Because Paul saith, 2 Cor. i. 7, " As ye have been par* 
takers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the conso- 
lation." But these never have been partakers of the suf- 
ferings, and therefore, shall not be partakers of the 
consolation. And it is said also, Proverbs xiv. 10, " The 
heart that hath known the bitterness of its soul, a 
stranger doth not intermeddle with its joy." But what 
joy have these ? Why, they have that which they sought 
after : " So I gave them up unto their own heart's 
"lust," saith the Lord, Ps. lxxxi. 12. And Ps. lxxviii. we 
read, that God satisfied their desires when they tempted 
him by* asking food for their lusts, and rained down 
flesh upon them as dust : where it follows, verse 30, SI, 
" But while their meat was yet in their mouths, the 
wrath of God came upon them : " which the Apostle 
also repeats, Ephes. v. 6, calling such ' the children of 
disobedience, upon whom the wrath of God cometh.' 

God giveth unto these, instead of rejoicing of heart, 
the stinking gratifications of the belly: because they 
only ask, " Who will show us any good." Savouring of 
nothing but present and sensual things, and not having 
the light of the countenance of God. And therefore it 


is, that David here saith, ' that their corn, and nine, 
and oil are increased,' as they wished : Urns describing 
their misery, in mild words, and leaving us to judge how 
great that misery must be, by contrasting it with the 
joy which he felt, and with his enjoyments which were 
all directly contrary. For what good has that man 
who has not God ? What joy can he have whose heart 
does not rejoice in God ? What delight can he know 
whose conscience is ever in a state of alarm ? for such 
an one always feels that God is against him. 

These words of David, therefore, display a most 
striking humility of mind in him, and yet contain a 
most powerful comparison. — The righteous have a re- 
joicing of heart in God. But what have the unbelieving? 
An abundance, says he, of temporal things and nothing 
more. O miserable pittance! O worthless inheritance, 
and just the desert of the unbelieving ! For what else is 
fit for swine but deceiving and empty husks, the refuse 
and outside coverings of what is really good ! Thus, they 
have the good which they wished to be shown unto 
them. They have that good, for the sake of which, they 
are willing to be without the light of the countenance of 
God. They have those rewards given unto them which 
were civen unto the sons of the concubines of Abraham, 
but they are separated from the true heir, Isaac, to 
whom the whole inheritance is given. And as the two 
are separated and distinct in desert, so are they in fruit 
and renard. The unl>clieving wanted visible good things 
and they have them: the believing desired invisible 
good things, and thev have them in the joy of their 
heart. And thus, as he had shown in the preceding 
verse what the workmen were, so now, in the present 
verse, he shows what fruit* followed their works; how 
tj liferent they are from, yea, how contrary to each other. 
You mav here see, therefore, in what sovereign con- 
tempt he held all the pomp and all the possesions of 
this world, from the comparison which he draws between 
them and the good things which he enjoyed: and 
hi* showing that such are the thing- which are uiveii to 


Ver. 8, 9. — I will together lie me dawn in peace to 
sleep, and take my rest. For thou, O Lord, hast sin- 
gularly established me in hope. 

These two verses are, m the Hebrew, only one : and 
Hieronimus has translated them thus, " In peace to- 
gether will I lay me down to rest, and sleep ; because 
thou, O Lord, hast made me in an especial manner to 
dwell in safety." 

The two expressions, " I will lay me down to sleep," 
and ." I will rest," have been abundantly discoursed on 
in the preceding Psalm : where we have shown, that by 
them is signified natural death and burial. Though I 
know that Augustine interprets them, figuratively, in a 
different way, as signifying the oblivion of temporal 
things: yet he himself confesses, that such an oblivion 
cannot be attained unto in this life. 

The words ' in id ipsum ' in our translation have the 
same signification as the adverb simul, ' together; ' and 
it implies concord and unity: as in Psalm cxxxiii. 1, 
" Behold how good, and how pleasant it is, for brethren 
to dwell in one f in umtm,)" that is, ' together in unity. 1 — 
The sense therefore, is, Being, O Lord, satisfied and 
assured, from the light of thy countenance, that thou 
art with me and for me, I am full of joy. I shall there- 
fore die in peace, and willingly leave this life : because, 
(as in Psalm xxiii. 4,) " Though I walk through the valley 
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou 
art with me." 

Hence, according to my judgment, * laying one down 
to rest together,' and ' sleeping together,' are of the same 
signification as we now use those terms; and they con- 
vey that meaning, that would be conveyed by the Latin 
words condormire, and correquiescere : and I think, 
that by those expressions, David declares his persuasion 
that he should sleep with his fathers. For the same 
expressions are frequently made use of in the books of 
Kings, " He slept with his fathers." 1 Kings ii. 10. 
And again, in the Books of Moses, "I am to be ga- 
thered to my people," Gen. xlix. 29. And again to 


Moses, " Thou also shalt be gathered to thy people," 
Num. xxvii. IS. u And Aaron shall go to his people/ 1 
Num. xx. 24. And many more of the same kind. 

Faith, therefore, after it has been exercised by various 

sufferings and temptations, produces this in us, — that 

we look upon death as a sleep in peace; which, to the 

unbelieving, is a terrible and intolerable vexation. Tor 

what else do you imagine David intends by this his 

great glorying in death, and commendation of it, than, 

that he may not only give an example in himself of the 

way in which we may come to a sweet and quiet death, 

but that he may leave it also to every one to judge, how 

terrible the death of the unbelieving must !>c, and how 

full of perturbation, dread, and horror: in which latter 

death, there is no lying down to rest and sleeping, 

but, according to the Psalm, " Evil shall overtake the 

wicked man in his death/' Ps. cxl. 11. Again, 'The 

death of the wicked is terrible.* And again, " Bloody 

and deceitful men shall not live out half their days/* 

Ps. lv. 23. " When they shall say, Peace and safety, 

then sudden destruction cometh upon them/' 1 Thess. v. 3. 

Therefore, he terrifies them in the most mild and 

quiet way by showing them their awful death, while he 

commends his own death which would be most happy: 

because, he rather chooses to move them in a sweet way 

by his own example, than to urge them to the life of the 

cross and of faith: to effect which, he sets before their 

eyes that glorious death, which is the fruit of such 

a life. 

For thou, O Lord, hast singularly established me 
in hope. 

This is taken out of Deut. xxxiii. and it is frequently 
repeated throughout the scriptures: let us therefore 
come to the fountain-head of it. — Moses saith, Deut. 
xxxiii. 12, "The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in 
safety." And verse 28, " Israel shall dwell in safety 
and alone." 

David, therefore, concludes his psalm with this 
general and authentic truth: and thereby excellently 


shows* in opposition to the carnal Qpinion of the Jews, 
what Moses really meant by those words, and also 
applies them to his own purpose. For, as Moses said, 
that Israel should dwell in safety and alone; and, as 
Israel is most beautifully set forth in this Psalm ; (for, 
he is represented as seeing, like Jacob, God face to face, 
and as having the light of his countenance, that is, believing 
in God;) therefore, David rightly saith, that the promise 
and all the full salvation given to Israel belong to him, 
and that he is made to " dwell in safety ana alone." 
And Jacob also declares that he had the same con- 
fidence, when he says, "My soul is preserved," (or 
saved) Gen. xxxii. 30. And what else was this, but his 
dwelling in safety in a singular manner, being satisfied 
concerning the salvation of his soul ? For his soul was 
safe, but only in hope and secure confidence. This 
security and all-certain hope of salvation, therefore, is 
that very spiritual safety, and spiritual dwelling alone; 
that is, a dwelling in God himself; which is the salvation 
of the soul. 

The prophet, therefore, fears not death, but says 
with confidence, that he shall sleep in peace with his 
fathers:' because, he is satisfied and fully assured of his 
salvation. — And here, we trace David's reading and 
meditation in the writings of Moses ; in which he exer- 
cised himself, and from whence he drew this spiritual 
understanding; having been taught it, and established 
it, by various temptations. 

But what is this l dwelling alone,' or ' being esta- 
blished singularly?' for to dwell in hope, or confidently, 
seems to be plainly understood. — According to my bold 
way of thinking, it seems to me to be the same as 
dwelling at liberty and in security : so that, solitude is a 
state of liberty: according to Psalm lxxxviii. 4, 5, "I 
am as a man that hath no help : Free among the dead, 
like the slain that lie in the grave:" this is, alone and 
secure. And more to the point is that of Judges xviii. 7. 
1 And they saw the people that were therein, how they 
dwelt without fear, no one resisting them, and being of 
great wealth and far from the Zidonians, and having no 


business with any men.' Here it is manifest, that their 
solitude was their security, for they had shunned and 
separated themselves from all men, to this end, that they 
might live in security ; in which manner they could not 
have lived, if they had mingled themselves among men. 
And so also now, they who wish to live securely and 
quietly, seek a sequestered and solitary place: from 
which desire it is that monks, (that is, solitary ones) 
have their rise: who, in order to dwell in security, and 
to avoid those dangers of the world that arc among 
men, seek places of solitude? Therefore, 'singularly' 
and l securely 9 mean the same thing: excepting that, 
'singularly' expresses the peculiar nature of security, 
that is, a being removed to a solitary place out of the 
way of dangers. But if all these things be not done in 
the spirit, they will only make men monks and hypo- 
crites, who only avoid external dangers. 

David, however, is here speaking of spiritual security : 
which is so great, that a man may l>e safe in the midst 
of the perils of the world, of death, and of hell, and yet 
be filled with no more fear than if he were dwelling 
alone: and indeed, such an one is the more alone in tlie 
more perils and evils he is involved. This is the 
powerful grace of faith, and the effect of a good con- 
science toward God. 

And now, see whether Hicronimus did not truly feel 
out this security in the verse liefore us, when he trans- 
late it, " Because thou, () Lord, hast made me in an 
especial manner to dwell in safety." 

But, to sum up the whole, ' to dwell singularly in 
hope/ is for a man to he satisfied and confidently >eeure 
concerning his salvation in ami by the mercy of ( rod. 
In the enjoyment of which experience, he may wait for 
death as that which will be to him a most grateful sleep. 
These things, I say, does faith, exercised and tried by 
sufferings, produce: these are the "peaceable fruits" 
(as Paul saith to the Hebrews) which it yields. 

Wherefore, those doctors of theology (as they arc 
called) are to be utterly detested and condemned, who 
teach us to remain in doubt and uncertainty about w he- 


ther we are in the grace and favour of God or not; and 
so, whether God be our God, and we his people or 
not. And, to establish this their doctrine, they invent 
their distinctions and force them upon us: saying, that 
the sacraments and ordinances, do work in us a certain 
effect of grace, as to the authority and power of God ; 
but that, with respect to the person receiving, they work 
doubt; and they say that this doubting is a godly feeling. 
O pestilent fellows ! For if this be true, and every 
Christian ought in this godly manner, (as they call it,) 
to doubt, then, that article of the Creed, * I believe in 
the Holy Church, and, in the communion of saints, 9 
falls to the ground: because, (according to them,) I 
ought not* to assert that I am a saint, nor art thou to 
make such an assertion, nor any other Christian : and 
therefore, we are all to remain in doubt: and hence, as a 
consequence, we are to remain in doubt whether we have 
God for us or not, and whether or not the whole Church 
will perish. 

But away with all such most absurd and most im- 
pious heresies ! Let every one take heed, that he be not 
by any means in doubt whether or not God be for him: 
that is, whether or not he has God for his Father, his 
Saviour, and the giver of all good things ; that he may 
dwell securely alone and in hope, and that he may not 
be in a continual state of fluctuating uncertainty " like 
the troubled sea;" which Isaiah saith is the state of the 
wicked, chap. lvii. 21. For if thou believest concerning 
the saints, that they are safely secure and confident; why 
shouldest thou not believe the same concerning thyself, 
if thou desirestto be like them, and if thou hast received 
the same baptism, the same faith, the same Christ, and 
the same all things? 

Nay, thou pestilent teacher, thou most impiously 
believest one thing concerning the saints, and another 
concerning thyself; if thou impiously teachest them to 
doubt as thou thyself doubtest. For thou art either 
wicked in teaching that doubting in a godly feeling; or 
else tUbu art wicked in believing that to be sure and 
certain which thou commandest us to doubt; (for faith 


cannot rest upon that which is known to lie uncertain.) 
Indeed, I never could have believed, that these impious 
fables and these most pestilent opinions had ever crept 
into the Church of Christ, even secrcdv, had I not Ijoth 
read and heard those, who were considered to ho great 
theologians, assert these things, as l>eing most sure 
articles of faith, and establish and defend them, and 
consider the contrary catholic doctrine, to !>c heretical. 
So great are the darkness and blindness of the heads of 
the church, and so great is the wrath of God upon us! — 
But more of this elsewhere, and addressed to others. 

to victory: for the inheritances: a psalm 


What is meant by ' to victory ' has been set forth in 
the preceding Psalm, once for all. 

Concerning these "inheritances," I read a great 
deal : but I read nothing that satisfies my dull compre- 
hension. As to what Lyra and his followers understand 
here, I can neither understand nor receive. — I will sav 
what I think upon the subject. 

It is certain that this Psalm does not treat of suf- 
ferings and tribulations: for the |>erson that harps does 
not say one word about them. The whole Psalm is a 
complaint concerning the ungodly, the unjust, and the 
wicked. The scope of the Psalm therefore, according 
to my judgment, is this; — the prophet is praying against 
hypocrites, deceitful workers, and false prophets, who 
seduce and deceive the people of (iod and the heritage 
of Christ, by their human traditions; whom Christ calls, 
Mat£. vii. "ravening wolves;" and the Apostle, Titus 
i. 10, " vain talkers and deceivers." 

And, (that we may come to our own times,) as in 
the preceding Psalm, David inveighed against a mere 



profession and abuse of justice; so, in this Psalm, he 
attacks the same profession and abuse of Theology. 
And because that is the most destructive of all persecu- 
tions which rages under the cover of truth and godliness ; 
(for such always professes the name of God ;) and be- 
cause it is that, which the most of all destroys the 
heritages of God; therefore it is, that the Psalmist is 
under such powerful feelings, prays with so many dif- 
ferent petitions, accuses the ungodly with so many 
names, and so wholly burns with zeal, that he can say 
of himself what he said Psalm lxix. 9, "The zeal o£ 
thine house hath eaten me up." And so also, neither 
did Christ himself, nor Peter, nor Paul, burn with zeal, 
nor show their indignation against any tiling so much as 
against these heady mind-deceivers, and these workers 
for reward : against whom also all the prophets set 
themselves. — We shall therefore find, that this Psalm is 
directed against -all false prophets, hypocrites, heretics, 
superstitious ones, and the whole generation of those 
who devour the people of God by an adulteration of his 
Word, and by a false show of works. 

Rightly, therefore, is the title * for the inheritances,' 
or, 'to the inheritances,' given to this Psalm: because, 
its design is to preserve the people of God in safety for 
their rightful Lord. For the people of God are the IxwtTs 
heritage: as we have it Psalm xxxiii. 12, "Blessed 
is the nation whose God is the Lord ; and the people 
whom he hath chosen* for his own inheritance: 99 and 
Psalm xlvii. 4, " He hath chosen our inheritance for lis, 
the excellency of Jacob whom he loved." And that is 
the same also, which we have Psalm ii. 8, " I shall 

S've thee the heathen for thine inheritance." And we 
ive the same in many other places also. 
But it is said ' inheritances,' in the plural number: 
whereas, the inheritance of Christ is but one. This is, 
because it must of necessity be, that the one inheritance 
of Christ must be divided into many parts and places, 
on account of the great multitude, which no one pastor 
could rule and teach. And therefore, as there must be 
many pastors and stewards in the one inheritance of 


God; so there must be many inheritances which are 
intrusted to them ; whence it comes to pass, that many 
deceivers and scatterers of the same, will rise up in 
different places. 

And this also shows the great feeling concern of the 
Psalmist, — his calling the people of God an inheritance 
rather than, a church, a people, or an assembly : because 
he thereby excites greater envy in the scatterers of it, and 
produces a more gracious feeling in himself and other 
pastors like him. For if an inheritance is that which 
every one loves, and is most zealously anxious about, 
how much more so must it be with God. Hence he 
saith, Exodus xix. 5, " And ye shall be a peculiar trea- 
sure unto me." And hence also David saith of these 
destroyers, ' for they have rebelled against thee, O Lord/ 

And indeed, the metaphor contained in the title, 
' for the inheritances,' at once shows the scope of the 
whole Psalm. For inheritances must be cultivated, 
tilled, and wrought in, in order that they may be fruitful 
and improved. And for that reason, they will have 
many snares and hinderances thrown in their way, and 
will meet with many enemies and destroyers. And 
therefore, the people of God will need their labourers, 
their teachers, and their rulers : by the industry of whom, 
the inheritance is cultivated for God, and wrought on 
and prepared by his Word : while it is also, on the other 
hand, laid waste and destroyed by wicked teachers. 
Hence it is that this Psalm is entitled, ' for the in- 
heritances ' and their cultivators. 

And we may add this also, that the present Psalm is 
not only to be understood of die church of Christ in ge- 
neral, but also of every part of the people of God in 
every age, all of whom ever have their seducers and per- 
secutors : so that the Psalm in general, agreeably to its 
title, is ' for the inheritances/ Nor should I make any 
objection, nay I would rather coincide with him, if any 
one should wish by ' inheritances,' to understand the two 
contrary classes of men ; that is, those who depend upon 
their own strength, and those who depend upon the 

x 2 



grace of God ; for this all comes to the point before 

Verse 1 . — Give ear unto my words, O Lord, consider 
my cry. 

Verse 2. — Hearken unto the voice of my prayer, my 
King and my God : for unto thee will I pray. 

This is the way in which the Hebrew divides these 
two verses; though our common translation annexes 
the last clause of the second verse to the beginning of 
the third, making it commence thus, " For unto thee, O 
Lord," &c. And the rendering of Hieronimus differs 
very little from this ouk received translation ; excepting 
that, for " my cry," he has ' my roaring ; ' and Lyra 
has ' my meditation ; ' and for " the voice of my 
prayer," he has * the voice of my cry.' 

And here also I must venture my opinion concerning 
the meaning of the Psalm.' As I said above, this Psalm 
especially strikes at self-justifiers and wicked teachers ; 
the aim of all whom is one and the same,-— to feed their 
own pride. For the blessed Virgin has described such 
where she says, " He hath scattered the proud in the 
imagination of their hearts," Luke i. 5 1 . Because all 
wicked doctrines derive their origin from pride; and 
therefore, Augustine in many places calls pride the mo- 
ther of all heresies : for it is humility alone that teacheth 
rightly. Hence it is said, Proverbs xi. 2, " When pride 
cometh, then cometh contention ; but where there is hu- 
mility, there is wisdom/' For it is impossible but the 
proud man must be Contumelious and contentious : he 
must judge and condemn all others: as we see it evi- 
denced in the Pharisee in the Gospel, in his conduct to- 
wards that poor humbled sinner, the publican, Luke 
xviii. ; and also those in the house of Simon the leper, 
in their conduct towards the woman who was a sinner, 
Luke vii. 

The prophet, therefore, is intent upon inveighing 
against the hypocrites of his time: who, from being 
puffed up in a wonderfiil manner with their own righte- 


ousness and works, thought nothing at all of the enor- 
mous sins of envy, pride, avarice, and the like, nor be- 
lieved that they had any need of the grace of God, walk- 
ing securely in their own way without any fear of God : 
and this is what all proud men of this kind always do, 
always have done, and always will do. 

I)avid begins the Psalm humbly with prayer, seeking 
the grace of God : and thereby he plainly and power- 
fully, at the very outset, condemns their pride. For it 
is as if he had said, These ungodly characters are full, 
are holy, are righteous, are whole ; and, therefore, they 
want not any physician, nor do they seek, () Lord, thy 
grace to be justified thereby. Hut I, who am a poor 
needy creature, full of every sin, and brought to despair 
of myself and all my works and |>owers, can do nothing 
but pray unto thee and implore thy grace and mercy. 

We have here given us, therefore, a beautifully 
marked difference between the law and faith, or between 
the letter and the Spirit. And this Augustine, in his 
work upon the difference between the letter and the 
Spirit, sets forth thus : — ' The law of works (says he) 
saith to the man, Do what I command ; but the law of 
faith saith unto God, Give what thou cotumandest.' 
And again, saith he, 4 What the law of works commands 
with threatening; that the law of faith obtains I >y be- 
lieving.' Hence the |>eople of the law, (that is self- 
justiciaries and their teachers,) say, I have done so and 
so : and they boast in pride, as if they were justified by 
the works of the law : but the people of faith say, I pray 
that I may be enabled to do it. The former, trusting in 
works, do not seek the mercy of God : the latter, ac- 
counting all their righteousness as dung, hreuthe after 
the mercy of God only. Hence the Apostle >aitli of the 
former, flora, x. 3, " For they, being ignorant of the 
righteousness of God, and going about to establish their 
own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto 
the righteousness of God." Therefore the letter ulwavs 
putfeth up and killcth ; but the Spirit humhleth and 
sliveth life. u For God resisteth the proud, but gi\eih 
grace unto the humble/' James iv. 6\ 


And again, he that prays in this threefold petition, 
must pray with a deeply feeling mind. And he assigns 
no other reason for his thus praying, than his confidence 
that he should both pray and be heard ; * For I will 
pray unto thee in the morning (saith he), and thou shalt 
near me/ And why, David, wilt thou pray in the 
morning ? and why shalt thou be heard ? " Because 
(saith he) thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wick- 
edness." And what is the meaning of this? Why, that God 
loveth humble supplicators for his mercy, but hateth the 
proud that presume upon their own righteousness. Be- 
hold, (saith he,) for this reason will I pray, because I 
know that this pleases thee, that thou desires t this, and that 
thou hast commanded this :— that man should acknow- 
ledge himself a sinner, and that his whole life should be 
nothing else but a state of praying for, desiring, groaning 
after, and sighing after thy mercy : even as Luke xviii. 
1, records the precept, " That men ought always to pray 
and not to faint." And Psalm cv. 4, it is said, " Seek 
his face evermore." But this, saith David, these ungodly 
presumers never do : or perhaps they may occasionally 
do it for a moment, or rather may pretend to do it, 
though they are all the while in reality full and satisfied : 
and therefore thou, O Lord, hatest them, seeing that 
they neither acknowledge their own things nor thine. 

And now, observe the order and force of the words, 
u my cry," " the voice of my prayer ; " and also, " give 
ear," " consider," " hearken." These expressions all 
evince the urgency and energy of David's feelings and 
petitions. First we have, " Give ear ;" that is, hear me. 
But, it is of little service for the words to be heard, un- 
less the l cry/ or the roaring, or the meditation, be * con- 
sidered.' As if he had said, in a common way of ex- 
pression, I speak with deep anxiety and concern, but 
with a failing utterance ; and I cannot express myself, 
nor make myself understood as I wish. Do thou, there- 
fore, understand from my -feelings, more than I am able 
to express in words. And therefore, I add my " cry ;" 
that what I cannot express in words for thee to hear, I 
may by my cry signify to thine understanding. And 


when thou hast understood me, then, O Lord, " Hearken 
unto the voice of my prayer," and despise not what thou 
hast thus heard and understood. 

We are not however to understand, that hearing, un- 
derstanding, and hearkening, arc all different acts in 
God, in the same way as they arc in us ; hut that our 
feelings towards God are to be thus varied and increased ; 
that is, that we are first to desire to be heard, and then, 
that our prayers which arc heard may be understood, 
and then that, being understood, they may be hearkened 
unto, that is, not disregarded. And of these three parts 
it is that the exordium of this prayer of David consists : 
whereby he desires that God would be favourably in- 
clined towards him, would fully understand him, and 
would regard his petitions : and that, because his requests 
are worthy of God's attention, easy for him to gmnt, and 
to his honour to accomplish, and also most necessary 
for himself. 

" My King and my God," continues he. Herein he 
plainly strikes at all ungodly self-justiciaries, who act 
without any law and without any God, being sufficient 
of themselves. This is one of the passages of this Psalm 
which contains its scope and design. For, to have a 
King and a God, is for a man to presume nothing in 
and of himself, but to yield himself up to he governed 
and ruled by God, and to become altogether tractable; 
and also, to ascribe unto God every thing that has been 
received, or that shall be received. This is w hat those 
self-righteous ones never do: or at least they only do it 
feignedly, because they ascribe not a little to themselves 
also. Nay, in fact, as they do not ascribe all things 
unto God, they ascribe nothing : for he that ascribes 
any thing unto himself, ascribes unto himself all the glory 
of it also : and they who ascribe the glory unto them- 
selves, ascribe all unto themselves and nothing unto G od ; 
because he must have all the glory, or he can have none : 
for he never divides his glory, nor has any partner therein : 
as he saith, Isaiah xlviii. 11, u I will not give my glory 
to another." Such men, therefore, do certainly reign, 
but not by God ; they are their own kings, mid their own 


" For unto thee will I pray." Here he confesses his 
poverty, and has nothing : excepting that, he hopes, that 
as he prays he shall obtain, as not being a worker, but a 

And here again in these two particulars we have the 
whole sum of our Christian life set forth : I mean, in 
our having a King and a God. God rules us as King, 
when he takes us away from ourselves and leads us unto 
himself. And he acts as our God, when he receives us 
as we are coming unto him, and fills us with himself, 
that is, with all good. The former state is the cross, the 
manifestation, the transition, or our being led out of the 
world and out of our sins ; or, in a word, the mortifica- 
tion of our flesh. The latter is our being received, or 
our acceptation or glorification. Hence Augustine says, 
upon this passage, that the scriptures generally call the 
Son, King, rather than the Father. For Christ, by his 
twofold nature, has accomplished both the above-men- 
tioned things for us. By the kingdom, or the rule, or 
the dominion of his humanity, (or, as the Apostle calls 
it, of his " flesh,") which is carried on in the kingdom of 
faith, he renders us deformed and crucifies us ; making 
us, from having been securely satisfied proud gods, mi- 
serable and wretched sinners. For as, in our old Adam, 
we proudly ascend in self-opinion, so to imagine oar- 
selves to be like God himself ; therefore, he descends 
into our likeness, that he may bring us back to the true 
knowledge of ourselves. And all this is done by his in- 
carnation ; that is, in the kingdom of faith, in which the 
cross of Christ rules : which casts down all that divinity 
that we perversely aspired to in our imaginations, and 
brings back the true sense of our humanity, and of the 
contemptible infirmity of our flesh which we had as per- 
versely left behind. But, by the dominion, or in the 
kingdom, of his divinity and glory, he will make us like 
unto his glorious body, where we shall be like him : and 
then, we shall be no more sinners, no more weak, but 
shall ourselves be kings, the sons of God, and as the 
angels that are in heaven : then shall we say " my God " 
in real possession, which now we only say in hope. And 


hence, it is not without due propriety that he says, " my 
King/' before he says, " my G oil : " for so Thomas the 
apostle also, John xx. 28, saith, " My Lord, and my 
God:" because, Christ must first be apprehended as 
Man, before he is apprehended as God : and the cross 
of his humanity must be sought after and known, before 
we can know the glory of his divinity : and when we 
have laid hold of Christ as Man, that will soon bring 
with it the knowledge of him as God. 

All these things are hard to be received by the flesh ; 
for that would rather have Christ to be God only than 
Man also : because it is more readv to seek after the 
glory than the cross ; but to seek glory by the cross is 
what it abhors. Thus Moses fled from before the ser|>cnt 
into which his rod had been turned ; but when he 
touched it, and took it by the tail, he became glorious in 
miracles, and was made a god to Pharaoh. Exod. iv. 
3, 4, and vii. 1. 

Verse 3. — My voice shall thou hear betimes in the 
morning, O Lord; in the morning wilt I stand before 
thee, and will look up. 

I must here labour a little, before I enter into the 
sanctuary of this verse, and come at the full understand- 
ing of it. — I know two things. The one is, that 4 " morn- 
ing " in the scriptures, signifies mystically the time of 
grace : because, when Christ the sun of righteousness 
graciously arises upon a man, he illuminates him, and 
does so as often as he vouchsafes those visitations. The 
other thing is, that to the time -of " morning," literally 
understood, are devoted, for the most part, sacred and 
divine works, such as praying and teaching : whereby 
also the mystical morning is figuratively represented. 
And hence it is, c That the Lord looked upon the hosts 
of the Egyptians in the morning uutch, and destroyed 
them/ Exod. xv. 24. Hence it is al>o,"that it is thus 
written, Psalm xlvi. 5, u The Lord shall help her with 
his countenance in the morning/* And Psalm lxiii. 1, 
" Early in the morning will I meditate on thee/* Hut 
concerning wicked and ungodly teachers he ^aith, Psalm 


cxxvii. 2, " It is in vain for you to rise up early, who 
•eat the bread of labour. 7 ' And the prophet Micah, ii. 1, 
says still more clearly to this point, " Woe unto them 
that devise unprofitableness, (in the Hebrew aven, that 
is, ' iniquity, 5 ) and work evil upon their beds ! When the 
-morning is light they practise it, because it is in the 
power of their hands." And this they did, when (as the 

Erophet Isaiah says, x. 1,) they taught the people false 
iws, and false interpretations of the laws which they 
themselves invented ; whereby they devoured the people 
both body and soul : whence their throat is rightly called 
" an open sepulchre : " agreeably to which, it is said in 
the same place, Micah ii. immediately afterwards, " And 
they covet fields, and take them by violence ; and houses, 
and take them away : so they oppress the man and his 
house, even a man and his heritage." And God saith 
by Amos, iv. 4, " And bring your sacrifices every morn- 
ing." From all which it is manifest, that the morning was 
the time that of old was devoted to sacrifices, and self- 
justifications ; and also, to teaching and reading : and, 
in a word, to divine things, according to the custom 
which is still preserved in the church at this day. 

Setting aside, therefore, all mystical acceptation of the 
-word u morning," I shall interpret it according to the 
temporal sense as well as I can, not knowing whether I 
shall be positively right. The morning, as we have said, 
is always devoted to divine things, though it is not al- 
ways devoted to them rightly. The prophet, therefore, 
seems to me to separate himself, together with all the in- 
heritances of God, (and if not in place and time, yet 
certainly in affection and desire,) both from all [ungodly 
teachers and hearers, and also from all ungodly workers. 
For he attacks both in the present passage ; and there- 
by shows, that though there must be a meeting together 
with them in the same place, and at the same morning 
time, for divine purposes, and to hear the law of God ; 
yet, while they corrupt the law of God by their tradi- 
tions, or at least do not rightly teach it, and also impiously 
live and act under the appearance of what is holy and 
good, and yet at the same time teach their own fables, 


that they may thereby grow fat, (which they are conti- 
nually accused of doing by all the prophets, and which 
we hear and see done every where throughout our 
churches, by those who will say any thing in the church 
and in their sermons for a little of the most filthy lucre.) 
— David shows, that while they act and proceed thus, 
his prayers and desires shall be, that he may l>e ac- 
counted worthy of being heard, and that he may lie 
favoured to hear God himself; not the word of man only, 
but the Word of God. For all the other characters do 
as it is said of them, Isaiah xxx. 9, 10, 11, 4 ' This is a 
rebellious people, lying children, children that will not 
hear the law of the Lord : which say to the seers, See 
not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right 
things ; speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits : 
get you out of the wsy, turn aside out of the path, cause 
the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us." And 
these characters Paul also describes in his Epistle to 
Timothy, saying, " And they shall turn away their 
ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables," 
2 EpisL iv. 4. 

The sense of the verse, therefore, Is this — Woe is 
me, that I must dwell amongst a people uho will not 
hear the truth, and who abhor the Won I of the cross, hut 
will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears. 
And, as Isaiah saith, chap. vi. 5, " I dwell in the midst 
of a people of unclean lips/ 4 on account of their impious 
doctrines. I assemble with them in the morning to hear 
thee : but behold, I hear not thee but men only. They 
teach their own ways and the works of men. Therefore 
do thou, O my King and my (iod, hear me in those 
mornings : because, at those times, I do not stand 
before them, but before thee : nor do I direct my 
thoughts towards them, but the mouth of my heart is 
opened unto thee : it is before thee I stand, it is unto 
thee that I offer myself, that thou wouldst instruct me 
that I may see and understand : according to that Word, 
" And they shall be all taught of God," John vi. 45. 

Hence you sec, that all the burning zeal of this 
prophet was roused by his seeing the people of God and 


die inheritances of Christ seduced and destroyed by 
those that taught what was corrupt. And indeed, all 
places are full of false teachers and vainly-prating de- 
ceivers of minds : which, as it is the most destructive of 
all evils, so it the most heavily affiicteth the godly mind. 
For what sight can be more distressing, what spectacle 
more miserable, than to see a wolf go through a flock of 
innocent sheep, so tearing and devouring them as not to 
leave one of them alive ! And it is thus that a wicked 
and impious teacher rages among the simple sheep of 
Christ : for it is of this that Paul warns with tears, Acts 
xx. 29, saying, " For I know this, that after my de- 
parting shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not 
sparing the flock." 

In thud setting forth the sense of this verse, and the 
feelings of the prophet, we almost repeat our exposition 
of the two verses preceding : for we ought rightly to un- 
derstand here, that these are the motions of an overflow- 
ing heart : under which, the prophet grieves at the multi- 
tude of these teachers, (of whom we shall hear him speak 
more fully presently,) when he beholds their iniquity : 
and under which, he- calls upon his King and his God 
with such repeated petitions against these tyrants of the 
law, and against these idols that take the teacher's chair. 
And this sense of the passage more aptly agrees with 
the scope of the Psalm, than that mystical acceptation of 
the word " morning ; " though the latter does not differ 
widely from the same point 

And this third verse also aptly accords with the 
former acceptation ; because he desires to be taught the 
Word and work of God, and not those of men : and it 
rightly agrees with the verses preceding, in this way, 
4 Give ear unto my words, my King and my God ; con- 
sider my roaring ; hearken unto the voice of my cry ; 
for unto thee do I pray.' And for what dost thou pray, 
David ? For that which is a gift above all things neces- 
sary ; — that thou wouldst restrain these wicked teachers 
who occupy the morning time and the place, in teaching 
ungodly doctrines, and that thou wouldst hear me in 
that for which I pray unto thee at that time. And for 


what dost thou pray at that time ? That I may stand 
before thee and be thy hearer ; that I may be instructed 
by thine own teaching, and be enlightened by thine own 
illumination ; and that I may not be deceived together 
with those who have itching ears ; for thou art my King 
who rules me, and my God who preserves me. Thus 
the prayer is directed absolutely against all corrupt 
doctrines and works. 

' My voice shall thou hear (says he) in the morning, 
O Lord ; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto 
thee. And in that which I pray do thou hearken unto 
me. I pray for all the true teachers and hearers of the 
Word which is accustomed to be held forth at that 
time. 9 Than which prayer, as there is not one through- 
out the whole of the Psalms more vehement, nor one 
that contains so many earnest repetitions ; so, there is 
not one more necessary and wholesome for all of us at 
this day, nor ever has been, nor ever will be. 

Let, therefore, the godly Christian's first and great 
concern be, to pray unto God most earnestly, (accord- 
ing to the example given in this Psalm,) for all the inhe- 
ritances of God, that his Word may* flourish among his 
people : for it is by the Word only that the |>eople of 
God live, are fed, and are preserved : as Christ suith, 
Matt. iv. 4, " Man shall not live by bread alone, but by 
every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." 
For while the Word of God flourishes, all things flourish 
and go well in the church. And what is the reason that, at 
this day, the church has not only wither cm I away into 
luxury and pomp, but is almost wholly destroyed? — 
What ? but because the Word of God is disregarded, 
and the laws of men and the artful inventions of Home 
are taught ? 

Hieronimus translates the words according to their 
native energy thus, " O Lord, in the morning shalt 
thou hear my voice: in the morning will I be pre- 
pared for thee, and will meditate. " And does not this 
word " prepared " aptly agree with the sense above- 
mentioned ? For what else is it to be prepared for God, 
than to become teachable and 'tractable in the hund of 


God ? And David herein shows, that he does not want 
to be prepared by man. Nor does it militate against this 
sense, that John Reuchlin, according to the opinion of 
die Jews, renders it, ' In the morning will I order :' so 
as to make it the active verb which the scripture uses 
when speaking of arranging and ordering sacrifices : that 
thus, it may signify a ready and prepared state of mind : 
a mind that casts off every thing that stands in its way, 
and is resigned (as we say) and devoted to the whole 
will of , God . For that is a true sacrifice, and an ac- 
ceptable offering unto God, when a man orders himself 
in this way, thus prepares himself, thus stands before 
God, and becomes thus teachable and tractable. 

It is manifest that, according to the Hebrew idiom, 
the verb ' to stand ' (ads tare) is a verb substantive, or 
an absolute verb ; thus, " I will stand," or, 'I will 
order ;' that is, I will make an ordering or an offering ; 
that is, of myself. Hence it is not unappropriated 
translated " I will stand." And we are here at the same 
time taught, that, in hearing the Word of God, we are 
not to be intent upon the man that is speaking, but upon 
God who is teaching. 

And in the same manner the word ' see' (or " look 
up ") is absolute ; that is, I shall be seeing ; that is y I 
shall be illuminated, I shall be instructed, I shall become 
one that can see ; that is, one that can see truth and 
righteousness : according to that of Micah vii 9, " He 
will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his 
righteousness." For no one can see or know the righte- 
ousness of God, but he whom God instructs : all others 
are only vain talkers, who speak out of their own brain* 
Hence it is, that Christ gave the Holy Spirit to his 
apostles and to the church, that he himself may 
speak in us, and not we from ourselves. If, therefore, 
David had stood "before men, he would not have seen but 
would have become blind : according to that of Christ, 
" If the blind lead the blind," &c. but now,. because he 
stands, orders himself, and is prepared, before God, he 
shall see and be illuminated. 

But if the mystical morning rather pleases any one, 

•4tfeh is the beginning of grace, wherein the church 
begins to stand before God and to see, I make no 
i id it. Though I am never much in a hurry to 
follow mysteries where I can have the plain letter. Nor 
-hould I sav any thing in opposition to it, if, by ' morn- 
ing' and ' standing' and ' seeing,' any one should wish 
tn understand the man's offering up himself; not as a 
self-righteous sacrifice, so as to boast of having given 
MKnethfitg unto God, but as evincing a state of mind 
that is waiting to receive the righteousness of God. 

Ver. 4. — -For then art not a God that hath pleasure 
in wickedness : neither shall the .malignant man dwell 
urith thee, nor shall the unrighteous stand in thy sight. 

Ver. $,■ — 7'h'i/i hnlest all the workers of iniquity: 
thou shall destroy all them that speak lies. 

Ver. 6. — The Lord abhorreth the bloody and deceit- 
ful man. 

He here accuses corrupt teachers and their disciples 
under seven different appellations : so great is his zeal 
for the true life and doctrine of godliness. Hence, we 
must understand this part of God's Word, as well as 
every other, in the Spirit and in faith. For the charac- 
ters concerning whom David is here speaking, if you 
took at their external appearance and outward show, 
will seem to be every thing but what he here declares 
they are : so deceptively covered are they with the 
clothing of sheep and the name of Christ. And, in a 
word, their opinion is, that these things which are said 
concerning them, belong altogether unto others, whom 
they look upon as their adversaries. Hence, they ac- 
knowledge neither the names nor the works which are 
here set forth : for they would turn them thus, ' For 
thoo art a God that hath pleasure in our equity : and 
we shall dwell with thee, for we are kind ; and shall stand 
in thy sight, for we are righteous. Thou lovest us the 
workers of righteousness, and thou shalt preserve us, 
for we are speakers of truth. Thou shalt highly esteem 
n», for we are men gentle and sincere.' Such are the 





high glory ings that these ungodly Ones dreamingly take 
to themselves : but all that is here said contrary to this, 
they transfer over to the truly godly, righteous, and 
lovers of God. And this perversion of things shall 
remain until the end of the world. — Thus we read, that 
Jacob and Esau struggled in the womb of Rebecca, 
Gen. xxv. 22 : and thus also the two harlots contended 
before King Solomon for the living son, 1 Kings iii. 
For heretics and false preachers always arrogate to 
themselves the title of truth, righteousness, and the 
church ; and they excel all men in external pomp and 
show, though they are excelled by the just in the sight of 
God : and, in reality, the truly catholic and righteous 
alone are they who excel all, though without any pomp 
find show : because, they are righteous befoife God. 

Let us then dwell a little upon these seven terms, — 
" wickedness," " malignant," " unrighteous," " workers 
of iniquity/' " them tnat speak lies," " bloody man," 
" deceitful man :" under which terms, David sets forth 
six evils and sorts of characters, — a God that has no 
pleasure ; those that shall not dwell with God ; those 
that shall not stand in his sight ; those that shall be 
hated; those that shall be destroyed; and those that 
shall be abhorred. 

First, then, we have this " wickedness :" which had 
been better rendered ungodliness. For (as we have 
shown in Psalm i.) rascha signifies ungodliness,; that 
ungodliness from whence proceeds the " counsel of the 
ungodly." And this ungodliness (as I have before ob- 
served) is unbelief itself, and a perverse opinion con- 
cerning God and his Word and works : though, as to 
its outward appearance, it carries a show of godliness. 
Our God, therefore, as he is just and righteous, has no 
pleasure in ungodliness : that is, he does not desire it, 
he cannot delight himself in it. For the Hebrew word 
in this place is haphez ; whence comes hEphzo, which 
is used Psalm i. 2 ; that is, " his will, is in the law of 
the Lord," or his i desire,' or ' his delight' — The sense 
and meaning of the present verse are appropriately 
set forth Psalm li. 16, " For thou desirest not sacrifice, 


else would I give it thee : thou delightest not in burnt- 
offering." And why does God not desire sacrifice? 
Why does he not delight in burnt-ollering ? Because the 
sacrifice of " a broken spirit," which is the sacrifice of 
godliness, is wanting; and therefore, godliness is want- 
ing; and that want makes the sacrifices of the wicked, 
4 * an abomination unto the Lord," according to Proverbs 
xv. 8. 

The sense, of the whole Psalm is, therefore, — I will 
therefore pray unto thee, I therefore desire of thee to 
hear me, I will therefore stand before thee and will look 
up, because I know that the desires, the prayers, and 
the sacrifices of the ungodly do not at all please thee, 
as they blindly presume, and as they seduce others to 
presume also : for, whilst they hide ungodliness under 
all their works and sacrifices, they never acknowledge 
it nor are humbled on account of it, but rest content as 
if all was going on well because they had performed 
those works. 

And in this same way also Isaiah, chap. i. 11, ex- 
poses and condemns these characters, saying, " To 
what purposes is the multitude of your sacrifices unto 
me?'' And again, he saith just afterwards, verse 16, 
*' Wa-h vou : make vou clean." As if he had said, 
These works themselves, while ye remain unclean and 
unsodlv, and without either faith or hope in my mercy, 
(which alone justify and take away ungodliness) cannot 
please, how specious soever they may be. Ye rest 
wholly on the works, aud judge according to external 
appearance; and thus, ye seem to yourselves to be 
godly and holy. But I look at your heart and judge ac- 
cording to truth; and thus, I find you to be ungodly. 
As Christ said unto the Pharisees, Ye justify yourselves 
before men, but God knoweth your hearts, Luke xviii. 
And this is what is meant by the present verse : which 
saith, Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in ungod- 
liness. Thou art not deceived by the outward appear- 
ance of works, so as not to discern the ungodliness of 
the heart. Such men are rather deceived themselves ; 
who, being thus led away by an external show of 

VOL. Ill- o 


works, never acknowledge their ungodliness; and 
who, whilfe they imagine that- they please thee the 
most of all men, are of all men the farthest from 
pleasing thee. 

Secondly: We have this, " Neither shall the malig- 
nant man dwell with thee." — In the Hebrew it is ra ; 
that is, a bad man, or badness ; so that it may either 
signify an ungodly man, or ungodliness : because where 
ungodliness, infidelity, and unbelief reign, there also 
malice or malignity reigns. For what can the man do, 
who is destitute of the good grace of God, but sin ? 
By malignity in this passage, therefore, we are to under- 
stand the Very root and the old leaven of malice and 
wickedness ; whereby, being destitute of grace, we are 
prone to rush into every sin, where occasion is given us 
for so doing. As Christ saith to his disciples, " If ye 
then being evil know how to give good gifts unto your 
children," Matt. vii. 11. 

This malice, however, plausibly conceals itself un- 
der the covering of works that are holy and pious in ap- 
pearance, until some opportunity or occasion presents 
itself to irritate it, and to force it to display itself in its 
true colours. You may see many who are gentle, 
humble, and kind in their words, actions, and whole 
deportment, who, if you do but touch them with your 
finger, become in a moment most cruel, most austere, 
ana ready to commit every evil. Yet these characters 
in the present day go by the honourable appellation of 
men of acute feelings, because, on account of their ex- 
ternal show of a good conversation, they must not be 
called " malignant ; " though they all the while perish 
themselves in security, and destroy all others also, who, 
after their example, securely neglect to mortify this ma- 
lignity. For all these passions and acute feelings are a 
proof of the root of malignity; showing, that godliness 
(that is, faith in God) is there wanting, and that ungod- 
liness is in full dominion. Such, therefore, shall not 
dwell with God nor tarry in his sight. 

Thirdly: We have the " unrighteous ; " whom the 
Hebrew calls holcelim; which signifies, properly, 


those who break forth into the outward act, transgress, 
and commit evil both in deed and word. Ungodliness, 
indeed, and malignity frequently lie hidden, (excepting 
in those to whom die spirituality of the law has been 
opened up; for the latter confess themselves to be 
sinners with the apostle Paul, Rom. vii. 9 ;) and it is 
these that make the ( tree evil/ But these holcelim 
are they who bring forth the ' evil fruits/ by following 
the malignity of their ungodly hearts:' concerning 
whom Solomon saith, Eccles. x. 13, "The beginning 
of the words of his mouth is foolishness : and tne end 
of his talk is holeloth ka:" which translators have 
rendered ' the worst of errors/ 

We still see, therefore, a beautiful order kept up in 
the words. First, there is ungodliness ; a state in which 
we are left to ourselves, without the assistance of the 
grace of God. This is followed, secondly, by malice ; 
by which we are inclined to commit that which is in 
us ; that is, every evil. And thirdly, there is unrighte- 
ousness, the transgression itself; that is, the very fruits 
of this ungodliness and malignity. 

These, saith David, " shall not stand in thy sight : " 
or, as the Hebrew has it, 'The holcelim shall not 
make to stand in the sight of thy eyes/ And this verb, 
' shall not make to stand/ or, ' shall not place, or 
establish ' (statuent,) is exactly the same as that verb of 
Psalm ii. 2, which the translators have rendered by tlie 
perfect, " The kings of the earth stood up:" instead of 
1 shall make to stand/ or ' shall establish : ' that is, (in 
the full meaning of the absolute verb,) ' shall make 
themselves to stand/ So also here, " shall not stand," 
shall not make themselves to stand before God, shall 
not appear before him, &c. which, nevertheless, diey 
most confidently believe they shall do, being deceived 
by their false opinions and works : for they do not 
believe that they do evilly even when they are really 
doing evil. 

Fourthly : " Thou hatest all the workers of iniquity/' 
We read this same sentence in many places in the Old 
Testament: and it is always written with the verb 



paal, which, as we have shown Psalm i., signifies ' to 
do, or to work/ and the noun aven, which is variously 
. and differently rendered ; as we have before seen, verse 3 

NcWr, I see that the prophets, especially Hosea x. 5, 
pleiying as ii were upon the word, have called that place 
B^th-aven, instead of Beth-fcl, where Jeroboam the first 
king of Israel set up the 'golden calves to be worshipped, 
lest the people of Istfael should go to Jerusalem to sa- 
crifice, and 6houW ultimately revolt from him to the 
king of Judah ; as we redd 4 Kitfgs xii, 26—33. And 
hence, where they ough % t W hive fcdiled it Beth-el, that 
is, the house of God, they calUt Beth-aven.; which 
; scW^have^ rendered, < the* house of the idol/ (that is, 
r confiraiy 5 to th€f houBe of God,) or, more properly, ' the 
hous£ 6f iniquity or wickedness,' or ' the house of 

Following the prophets therefore, I would rather 
understand by aven, * iniquity and idolatry : ' not that 
idolatry only which serves idols of wood and stone ; but 
rather, that idolatry which Samuel, chap. xv. 22, sets 
forth unto Saul in a powerful way ; thus, " Hath the 
Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices as 
in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is 
better than sacrifice; and to hearken than the fat of 
rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and 
' Stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." Wherein we 
See, that this religion of Saul was a furious disobedience, 
a perverse superstition, and a wretched aven ; for of 
'this we find him accused openly throughout the OM 
Testament, as being the way in which he reigned. And 
so also, at this day, no pest more awfully rages, than 
this, — when men leave that way which God has or- 
dained, and form out to themselves another way of 
Worshipping him entirely of their own invention ; and 
attempt to serve him therein. And this unhappy fall 
into disobedience has gained ground much more widely 
than any one can describe. For in every condition of 
; life among Christians, you may find this, — that, neglect- 
1 ing the observance of God's commandments, they will 


worship God according to their own traditions and 

This, I say, is the aven ; that outside show of 
works, under which, as I said before, they cover their 
iniquity, ungodliness, malignity, and every transgres- 
sion : and this sheep's-clothing and pestilent hypocrisy 
lays waste the Christian religion more dreadfully than 
any sword, famine, or pestilence. 

Behold, therefore, how the prophet is inflamed with 
zeal against, this impious piety, and this irreligious reli- 
gion ; than which, there is no religion that he more bit- 
terly hates ; 'saying, " Thou hatcst all them that work 
iniquity/ 9 — "All," saith he; and, "thou hatcst." 
Here, lest any should imagine that they please (iod 
by such an accursed sujierstition, he declares that 
" all *' are under the hatred of God, without except- 
ing one. 

These few observations will suffice concerning this 
greatest and most widely prevailing of all depravity : 
which we shall hereafter always express by the term 
' disobedience y or ' idolatry,* that is, the externally holy 
worship of the ungodly. For they do not openly violate 
the commands of (rod, like the publicans and harlots : 
but, under u show of great works and singular piety; as 
was the case with Reman I. And Psilin xei. (I rails these 
characters " The devil (or, the destruction) that wasteth 
at noon-day /' And the apostle Paul calls them, " mi- 
nisters of Satan transformed into angels of light," 
2 Cor. xi. 15, a description of whom we have plainly 
and strikingly set before us in the above-mentioned cha- 
racter of "Saul, 1 Sam. xv. 

Therefore, avkn is rightly interpreted by many, not 
only ' iniquity/ but also, * pain,' and 'labour:' l>ceause, 
this disobedience has indeed in it murh pain and 
labour. And hence, as the common proverb goes, * It is 
harder work to merit hell, than to merit heaven.' For 
the devil presses these his martyrs most terribly, anil 
never gives them .any relief or refreshment. And, as the 
Lord said by Moses, Deut. xxviii. that he would deliver 
the people of Israel into the hands of their enemies, and 

198 - 

that they should there serve strange gods which should 
rive them no rest neither day nor night ; so, it is said, 
Eccles. x. 15, " The labour of the foolish wearieth every 
one of them." And it is said frequently in the same 
book, that, to such, " all is vanity and vexation of 
spirit." Whereas, on the contrary, Christ, although he 
ch&steneth, yet " his ; yoke is easy, and his burden is 
light ;" because he relieves and refreshes all who are 
weary and heavy laden, with a joyful confidence of 
heart, if they will 'but come unto him, Matt. xi. But all 
the former characters will have to say with Wis- 
dom ii. 1, " Ow life is short and tedious." 
• Fifthly: " Thou shalt destroy all them that speak 
lies." Here, he attacks the teachers and doctrine of 
iniquity: for_the Hebrew verb dibber, seems to me to 
signify that kind of speech whereby something is taught 
or spoken forth or recited in public. And hence, the 
word ?)ABar signifies the thing done or wrought, or 
rather, spoken forth or narrated. Which figurative 
mode of speech has been preserved by Luke, chap. ii. 
15, " Let us now go even unto Beth-lehem and see 
this word (py/wz,);" that is, this thing which is done 
and spoken of. And indeed, in the book of Leviticus a 
clear distinction is made between the words dibber 
and a mar ; each of which signifies ' to speak ' or i to 
say.' For it is continually written, " The Lord spake 
linto Moses, saying:" where, the first verb is dibber, 
that is, * spake.' And hence it is in constant use with the 
prophets ; as, " And the Word of the Lord came unto me, 
saying." Wherefore, dibber, generally signifies, l to 
speak any thing forth publicly in the way of doctrine,' 
which doctrine is particularly specified by the verb 
amar: And even if this distinction and difference are 
not universally received and allowed, yet let us use them 
thus until we shall have found something better. It is at 
least certain, that the word which is here rendered i to 
speak/ in many places signifies 'to teach:" as in 
Psalm cxix. 46, " I will speak of thy testimonies." And 
Psalm Ix. 6, " God hath spoken in his holiness," or 
* in his saint,' (sancto suo.) 



Such, therefore, as the life of the ungodly is, such is 
their doctrine : as they act, so they speak. Hence the 
whole is tmgodly, evil, and inkputms ; all which David 
indudesinthetenn " lies." And these " lies" he called, 
Psahn L "theoeunsel of the ungodly," nay, " the seat 
of pestilenoaand mockery." The madness of such cha- 
racters aa these tarns and reigns at this day also: con- 
cerning whom Ptad has said, 8 Tim. iiL 7, "Ever learn- 
ing, awl never able to come to the knowledge of the 
troth." These* am they who strenuously devote them-; 
selves to die teaching of good works, (as they imagine 
them to be,) whereas they have never yet known what 
nod works, ace, because they are utterly destitute of the 
knowledge of faith. Hence, it comes to pass, that they 
most miserably crucify and murder the people by thev 
lies and impious fables, which they take from the morals 
of philosophers, the laws of men, and their own preoepta 
and traditions: concern i n g which I hare spoken before, 
and sbatt say more hereafter. 

Sixthly: u Tim Lord abhorreth the bloody and de- 
ceitful man;* 9 Here David shews, in a very few words, 
what sort of men the before-mentioned characters are 
towards their neighbour, in their manners and conver- 
sation ; that is, that they love no one from their heart. 
For, as they are destitute of grace and true godliness, 
and left in their own malice, it of necessity follows, that 
they are polluted with the love and conceited opinion of 
themselves, from the crown of their head even unto the 
sole of their feet. They feign, indeed, all things. They 
call each other and all men their dearest friends, write 
to them as such, and speak with them as such. They 
appear to be humane and sweet tempered ; and, under 
that covering, they plausibly conceal " bloody " men : 
but all this is deceit And that is manifested the very 
moment they begin to be offended, or that an occasion 
presents itself wherein they are required to give proof 
of their benevolence ; for then the deceit immediately 
appears, and the blood-thirsty anger and hatred shew 
themselves, and all the consequences which follow. For 
they never love any one unless it be for. their own ad- 


vantage ; it is never that they may do others good, but 
that they may do themselves good. 

These words, therefore, are to be understood spiri- 
tually; not as having respect 'unto the external appear- 
ance, but a searching the heArt and the rdtifc. ' For the 
words of faith aTe directly contrary to ail outward ap- 
pearance, and have respect unto the things and times of 
the cross. Ancl it ia by sdch words that those who are 
of the character mentfondd- are discovered, and are found 
to hate every man, and to love no one truly, because 
they love themselves. And under this disease no set of 
men labour more than those most holy and most reli- 
gious martyrs of the devil, whom we have already de- 
nominated ungodly, workers^of iniquity, and children of 
disobedience ; and all under the external garment and 
shew of godliness, the power of which they above all 
men deny. 

If thou dost not believe these things, or dost not 
know them to be so, only consult experience. The whole 
world is full of this complaint, — thai there is no faith- 
fulness to be found among men ; that all tilings which 
are eitheT done or spoken are feigned and dissembled : 
so that they will aver the truth of that word of Micah 
vii. 5, though they may never have read it, " Trust ye 
not a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide ; keep the 
doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom*. 
For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth 
up against her mother, the daughter in law against her 
mother in law : a man's enemies are the men of his own 
house." And hence it was that Christ gave this admo- 
nition, " But beware of men," Matt. x. 17. For if 
thou indulge their wishes, and be useful to them, thou 
wilt find them deceitful friends : and if thou offend them, 
or dissent from them, especially if thou do it for God's 
or the truth's sake, thou wilt find them most bloody 
enemies. And therefore, David could not describe the 
nature of man in terms more apt and short, than by 
calling it " bloody and deceitfuj." So rare a thing is it 
to find one who does not act deceitfully with his neigh- 
bour, and who is faithful. A man will live with you 


pleasantly, will speak to you courteously, and smile upon 
you ; but, if you ask him to help you with ten pounds 
of his large property, you make him your enemy directly. 
Indeed, if you do not serve him in all things, even in 
those tilings which are unjust and wrong, you are sure 
to lose your friend. In a word, if you do not lay your- 
self out for his use to gratify him in all his desires, with- 
out making use of him in the least instance for your own 
service, you will not have your friend's acquaintance 
long. These things we are taught by experience : so 
easy is it to understand the present verse. 

And yet these characters will not acknowledge their 
miserable state in this case : for they all despise these 
diings, and believe themselves to be the farthest of all 
toeo on earth from blood-thirstiness and deceit. First, 
On account of those specious works of theirs : for, being 
inflated and blinded with these, they cannot see them- 
selves. And next, they are so in love with themselves, 
and so kindly indulge their own vices, that they always 
have before their eyes, not how many evil things, but 
how many good things they have done. And this their 
blindness is increased, by their considering it to be a 
heavenly holiness to hate those by whom they have been 
injured, or rather, by whom they imagine they have been 
injured : for they look upon themselves as persons qua- 
lined, by their eminent righteousness, to hold the un- 
righteous in hatred. And being subverted by this mad- 
ness, they proceed to such lengths, that, neglecting the 
beam that is in their own eye, and beholding the mote 
that is in the eye of another, they desire to have them- 
selves accounted humane and faithful, while they judge 
others to be the bloody and deceitful men. And thus, 
with a perpetual perversion and madness, they put off 
upon others that divine abhorrence which is declared to 
rest upon themselves. Whence it comes to pass, that if they 
read the scriptures they do not understand them, and if 
they hear them they do not receive them, as considering 
that they do not belong to them : and thus they become 
those wholly incorrigible ones of whom we read, MatU 

U*(JSC »uu 



xl. 16, 17 i unto whom, if you pipe they will not dance, 
tod if you mourn they will not lament. 

Behold, then, the fruits which this trusting in their 
own works and their own righteousness brings forth ; 
bamely, ignorance of themselves, obstinacy, and incor- 
rigibleness ; together with all the evils of ungodliness, 
malice, disobedience, and every other sin. Such mon- 
sters are there who can conceal, nourish, and preserve 
themselves, under a covering so light and trifling. And 
moreover, horrible monsters like these can appear before 
God in the morning, sacrifice to him, and believe that 
they can please him; nor do they ever implore his mercy, 
but give him thanks, like the ungodly Pharisee, that they 
are not as other men. Is not this horrid to see and 
hear ! And is not the burning zeal of the prophet against 
such instances of madness most just ! 

And now, let us sum up the contents of these three 

The two former describe those sins whereby we sin 
against God : which are four. Two are contained in 
the first verse ; namely, ungodliness and malignity. The 
former of which is an aversion from God ; that is, a be- 
ing destitute of a pure love and a right opinion of God. 
The latter is, a turning towards self; that is, an inclina- 
tion to fell evil works, and an enmity against all good 
works; that is, perverted affections and a perverted 
opinion. By these two sins the person itself is described ; 
that is, the bad tree, such as these characters are in the 
sight of God. 

The other two sins are contained in the second verse ; 
that is, unrighteousness and the working of iniquity. 
The former of which is transgression, or the effect of 
malignity, and the omission of the worship of God. And 
the latter is, the external appearance of the worship of 
God, but, in reality, disobedience and idolatry. For in 
these two sins are comprehended all the evil fruits and 
works which we bring forth and do in divine things. 
The one of which is, doing things contrary to really good 
works and to the true worship of God ; which charac- 


ters are the holcelim : the other is, doing things feign* 
edly, which are good in appearance, but contrary to the 
obedience of God ; which characters are " the workers 
o5f iniquity." 

The third verse describes those sins whereby sin is 
committed against man : which are three. First, " lies," 
whereby men seduce others by word, example, and con- 
duct, from the true worship of God into their own im- 
pious idolatries ; making others like unto themselves in 
those things which pertain unto God. Secondly, Ha- 
tred, and all those things which follow it ; whence they 
are called " bloody" men. And thirdly, Deceit and all 
its consequences ; whereby men make use of others only 
for their own advantage, use, and pleasure ; and wherein 
are included all the sins of a perverted love. For there 
are even fraud and deceit in all carnal love, as is abun- 
dantly manifest. For, as hatred and love are the grand 
and principally ruling affections which direct all their 
actions, it is evident, that the whole viperous poison of 
a vicious life and conversation lies in these : which ha- 
tred is bloody, and which love is deceitful : for a right 
hatred opposes all that is sin, and a pure love seeks those 
things which are to the profit of others, and not to its 
own profit. 

To conclude the whole of this scripture. — They that 
come in the " morning," saith David, do not pray, () 
Lord ; neither do they want thee, nor do they desire to 
be heard. They are full and satisfied, being filled with 
all that mass of filth, their own righteousnesses. Nor 
do they " stand " before thee, nor do they ofier them- 
selves unto thee, that they may be formed by thee, and 
that they may be illuminated in order that they might 
" see :" but they rather form themselves against thee, 
and agreeably to the idol of their own hearts, (as Isaiah 
saith, chap, xlvi.) having false opinions concerning thee ; 
and therefore they see not, but are rather blinded and 
hardened. And this most certainly will be their case, 
because thou hast not (as they imagine thou hast) any 
pleasure in iniquity, but hatest the ungodly, and utterly 
abhorrest all such. But lj says David, come unto thee, 


stand' before thee, and offer myself unto thee, that I, may 
be formed by thee ; in order that I may favour and think 
of thee according to thy nature, that I may be illumi- 
nated and may see. They come unto thee, bringing with 
them, as an offering unto thee, their own good works, 
deeds, and merits ; and thereby take away with them 
the greater evils and sins : but I come unto thee to beg 
of thee thy good things, confessing my own evils and 
sins. They, because they are whole, need not a physi- 
cian ; but I, because I am weak, and under dangerous 
disease, seek a physician. — And this is what is now shown 
m the verse that follows — 

Ver. 7. — But as for me y I will come into thy house 
in the multitude of thy mercy : and in thy fear will I 
worship toward thy holy te?nple. 

1 A blessed verse this! a blessed saying! The words, 

and the sense itself, carry with them a powerful con- 
trast. For there are two things with which this life is ex- 
ercised, hope and fear, which are as it were those two 
springs of Judges i. 15, the one from above, the other 
from beneath. Fear comes from beholding the threats 
and fearful judgments of God ; as being a God in whose 
sight no one is clean, every one is a sinner, every one is 
damnable. But hope comes from beholding the pro- 
mises and the all-sweet mercies of God : as it is written, 
Psalm xxv. 6, " Remember, O Lord, thy lovingkind- 
nesses, and thy tender mercies which have been ever 
of old." 

Between these two, as between the upper and nether 
millstone, we must always be ground and kept, that we 
never turn either to the right hand or to the left. For 
this turning is the state peculiar to hypocrites, who are 
exercised with the two contrary things, security and 
presumption. By security, they decline to the left 
hand, neglecting the fear of God; as in Psalm xxxvi. 
1, " There is no fear of God before their eyes : " 
and by presumption, they decline to the right hand, 
while, having no fear of God, they presumingly imagine 
that all that they do pleases him. For while they do not 


acknowledge themselves sinners, it must necessarily fol- 
low, that they fear not God, whose judgments they never 
consider : according as it is written, Psalm x. 5, " Thy 
judgments are far above out of his sight." And, there- 
fore, instead of the judgments of (rod, they set before 
themselves a certain ignorant idea of God; and, instead 
of his mercy, their own righteousness. Hence it follows, 
that they can neither hope nor fear. 

This, therefore, is the contrast which David uses. 
They who are without thy fear, disregarding thy terrible 
judgments, worship thee in security like the Pharisee in 
the Gospel, Luke xviii. ; and they enter into thy holy 
temple in the multitude of their own righteousness, and 
come into thy sight without feeling any need of thy mercy. 
But I, being conscious to myself that I cannot t>c safe 
in the sight of thee and thy judgments, wholly despair of 
myself; and so enter into thy temple and stand More 
thee, as to have thy mercy only l>ofore my eyes ; which 
mercy I know to be great and infinite ; and looking at 
that only, I find a boldness, and feel myself safe ; as in 
Psalm xxvi. 3, " For thy lovingkindness is before mine 
eyes, and' I have walked in thy truth/* Entering with 
this Confidence, therefore, I will worship in thy temple; 
but in thy fear, not presumptuously imn.^ining that I 
shall please thee of myself; for I shall nither Ik.* in fear, 
"lest my service and worship should deserve thy reproof. 
And by remaining in this fear, I shall preserve unto thee 
thine honour, unci keep unto myself humility; while I 
do not justify myself, but in a humbled mind expert thy 
judgments, having nevertheless a hope in thy pardoning 

You clearly see, therefore, that the scope of this 
Psakn is directed to show the difference between the 
religion of the imdlv and the ungodly, the hnmble and 
the presumptuous. For he draws a comparison between 
himself and them in this morning service ; w Inch is, en- 
tering into the house of the Lord, and worshipping to- 
ward his holy temple : for it is there that the works and 
doctrines of all, are especially and most particularly per- 
formed and held forth. 


And the contrast of the words alsp is very beau- 
tiful, but somewhat changed. For he puts tile " mercy " 
of God, which is the object of hope, without expressing 
the word ' hope.' Again, he puts " fear," the object of 
which is the judgments of God, without expressing the 
word ' judgments:' whereas, to have made the antithesis 
of words quite correct, he should have put the words 
mercy and judgment, or hope and fear. But it was ne- 
cessary to express mercy, the object of hope, as well as 
the nature of hope. Nay rather, the object of hope is 
the multitude of the mercies of God ; which is set before 
the hope of the godly, because they are too much in- 
clined to fear, and approach unto God and divine works 
with great awe and reverence. Hence these two, hope 
and fear, are the two sacrifices and works that are by far 
the most acceptable unto God ; which those ungodly 
self-justifiers neither teach nor understand, and therefore 
they neither do them, nOr are able to do them. 

The whole world, as I have said, is at this day full 
of the ungodliness of these same characters, who draw 
men into a confidence in their own works and righteous- 
ness, and do not permit them to attain unto the fear of 
God, and to a hoping in his mercy : and such are ever 
learning, but never able to come unto the knowledge of 
the truth ; and as Christ saith, Luke xi. 52, ' They nave 
taken away the key of knowledge, (that is, the power of 
teaching, and the knowledge of God,) they enter not in 
themselves, and them that were entering in they hinder. 9 

These presumptuous ones, these most secure de- 
spisers of the judgments and mercies of God, Isaiah also 
copiously exposes and condemns, chap. i. 11, saying, 
" To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto 
me ? saith the Lord." And verse 15, " When ye make 
many prayers I will not hear," &c. And why ? It is 
shown in what follows, " Your hands are full of blood. 
Wash you, make you clean." Hence, nothing can please 
God but that which is done in humility ; and humility 
cannot be exercised but in our works ; and it ought to 
attend every work how good soever it may be. That 
humility ought to fear the judgments of God, and, glory 


and rest obW in fab free mercy. And it was against this 
tad of godliness that the people of land fought above 
all people m the world, from a natural and inbred pro* 
wimption, being puffed up in a wonderful manner with 
their law and works. 

Bat yon wQl ask this question, perhaps! How can 
David promise that he will enter into the house of tha 
Lord, and into his temple, when, in his time, them was 
no temple or house of God, and when the ark of the 
testimony m the tabernacle of Moses, was instead of a 
temple? David says in another place also, Psalm exxit 
2, 3, u Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet 
shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem." And Psalm 
our. 8, " Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in 
the courts of t|» house of our God." From which 
scriptures onejnight suspect that these were not the 
Pkanheof David, or that they were altered by Esdms 
a fterw a rd s . 

But, according to my bold way, I think that any 
place where God is worshipped, may be rightly called 
the house of God. For we well know that that place in 
which Abraham offered his sacrifice was called Beth-el* 
that is, the house of God : which Jeroboam, having 
polluted it with his eolden calves, afterwards made to be 
called Beth-aven ; that is, the bouse of iniquity. And 
Jacob, when he had slept on Mount Moriah, (that is, 
1 the mount of reverence/ or * of the worship of God ; v 
or, as others will have it, ' the mount of vision/ on 
which the temple of Solomon was afterwards built,) set 
np a stone and said, " This stone which I have set for 
a pillar, shall be God's house," Gen. xxviii. 28. 

Wherefore, laying aside all mystical interpretations, 
I wish to understand, by the house of God, altogether- a 
corporeal place : that is, a place in which there is an as* 
sembling together to worship God and to hear his 
Word Such as was that place in which Cain and Abel 
offered their offerings and heard the Word of God : pnd 
such as were, afterwards, the altars of all the fathers, 
Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, in their different 
places: until we come down to the tabernacle of Moses 


and the temple of Solomon. For ks the Word of God 
never utterly failed in the world, so neither did the 
worship of God. And therefore, there must have been 
places in every age in which divine works were per- 
formed. For when Jacob, Gen. xxxv. was going to 
build an altar unto God, and commanded them to put 
away the strange gods from among them, what did he 
efee but preach the Word of God in the same manner as 
we do now ? 

Since, therefore, we find, that hypocrisy and false 
doctrine reign most especially in the worship of God, 
(for it always pretends to, and defiles, the best of 
things,) and that true godliness and specious hypocrisy 
contended with each other in the first two brothers Cain 
and Abel : therefore it is, that the present Psalm strikes 
at that false show of godliness in the ungodly, and at its 
doctrine, which are found in that worship of God that is 
performed in the morning. For what degree of sincerity 
can he show forth in his dealings and works among men, 
(which are things so inferior,) who acts perversely and 
impiously in that first and most sublime of all works, 
the worship of God ? wherein a false outside show is 
the more injurious, the more specious it is, and the more 
it resembles a true and really holy work. In a word, 
there is nothing in the world more perilous than a false 
religion, or idolatry : for this is the fountain of all evil, 
though under the name of all good. 

.The house and temple of God, therefore, is that 
place, in every age and among any number of holy men, 
wherein God is worshipped. For God may truly be said 
to dwell there, where he is truly worshipped; but es- 
pecially, in the general assembly of his saints. Where- 
fore, one place is not called the house and temple of 
God more than another, on account of the magnificence, 
cost, or space, of the edifice, or on account of the mul- 
titude of the people ; but, as I said, on account of the 
assembling of many to pray and worship God and 
hear his Word : according to that of Psalm cii. 9&, 
" When the people are gathered together, and the king- 
doms to serve die Lord." Whence, the place is called 


the house of God on account of the people, (for that i* 
indeed the house of (Jod,) and not the |>cople on account 
of the house. 

But there is a powerful superstition now prevailing, 
that is devoted to the building, consecrating, and pre- 
serving temples of this sort throughout the whole world : 
in which temples, there is not so mugh concern mani- 
fested about the people being godly, the worship true, 
and the Word of God pure, as about making the 
temples themselves magnificent in riches, wealth, 
splendour, pomp, superb buildings, and all such kind 
of worldly vanity. And, to set forth the w hole state of 
the case after the manner of this Psalm, every thing 
else, (with shame be it spoken,) seems to be attended to 
in these places appointed for divine worship, but the en- 
tering into them in the multitude of the mercies of (Jod, 
and the worshipping him in his fear ; and every thing is 
taught in them but this, — that we ought to enter into 
them in the fear of God, and worship him in truth ; 
whereas, it was for these purposes only that they were 
ordained. Hence it is no wonder, that they are often 
riven asunder with lightning as profane houses : for 
there are no places under heaven filled with greater 
abuses, iniquities, and deceptions than these which are 
expressly dedicated to the most pure, yea, divine works 
and duties onlv. Tor though crime* are committed in 
other houses, yet the name of God is not so polluted in 
them, because that holy name is not there called upon. 
Tor in religious houses the sin i- doubly great. 

Ver-re 8. — Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness: 
hveahse of mine enemies direct my tray in thy sight. 

The Hebrew, according to Hicronvmus, is thus; 
" Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness : because ol 
mine enemies, make thy way straight before my face/* 

I have said, that from the beginning of the world, 
there have been fake workers and lying teachers as 
Peter also teaches us, 2 Kpist. ii. ; and therefore, the 
world has never been without faN»: religion and idolatry. 
These character* Peter calls, l 2 KpisL ii. 14, ' beguilers 

VOL. III. p 


of unstable souls ;' for there is nothing more insidious 
than this iniquity of the serpent : and of this iniquity 
Paul had many fears when writing to the Corinthians : 
for he says, 2 Epist. xi. 3, " But I fear lest by any means, 
as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so 
your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that 
is in Christ." 

The Hebrew word schorerai may indeed signify 
" enemies," as our translation has rendered it : but it 
signifies, more properly, * one that plots evil with a ma- 
licious design;' that is, by treachery; and that too, 
under the appearance of doing good. These characters 
the apostle calls (ppevanarat ; that is deceivers of minds ; 
as being men, who cbrrupt others by false opinions ; 
and especially in those things which pertain unto God. 
And this signification of the word most strikingly accords 
with the design of this Psalm : which shows, that there 
is no pestilence more to be dreaded by sincere and godly 
men, than the crafty machinations 01 false religion and 
false learning : and therefore it teaches us, that the only 
way in which such machinations can be guarded against, 
is by prayer. This is the serpent that always insidiously 
lays at our heel, that it may corrupt the way of true 
godliness. And hence, the word schorerai would not 
be rendered improperly, ' seducers/ or € defilers/ or 
c corrupters.' 

By the righteousness of God, (which we shall often 
have before us hereafter,) we ought always to understand 
according to its canonical signification, not that righte- 
ousness whereby God himself is just, and whereby he 
condemns the wicked, which is the righteousness that is 
generally understood to be meant; but, as Augustine 
has beautifully said in his work on the * spirit and the 
letter,' we ought to understand it as signifying that 
righteousness wherewith God clothes man when he jus- 
tines him ; that is, that mercy itself, or that justifying 
grace, whereby we are accounted righteous before God : 
concerning which the apostle saith, Rom. i. 17, " For 
therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith 
to faith : as it is written, The just shall live by faith." 


And again, Rom. iii. 8 1 , " But now the righteousness 
of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed 
by the law. and the prophets/' And it is called the 
righteousness of God, because it is by his grace freely 
given unto us ; even as that is called the work of God 
which he works in us, that the Word of God which he 
speaks in us, and that the strength of God which he 
makes perfect in our weakness, &c. As in Psalm xxxi. 
I, " Deliver me in thy righteousness/ 9 And Rom. x. 3, 
" For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and 
going about to establish their own righteousness, have 
not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of 
God." And hence also, that passage of Psalm xxiv. 5, 
is not improperly rendered by our translator, " He 
shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and mercy 
from the God of his salvation :" (though the Hebrew 
has it ' righteousness ' instead of ' mercy : ') because 
the blessing of the Lord, and the righteousness of the 
Lord, are the same thing : that is, they are both that 
mercy and grace of God which are freely given us in 

This scriptural manner of speaking of the righteous- 
ness of God, because it is different from the usual 
mode of speech among men, has been made the occa- 
sion of many difficulties in many places. — We are not 
indeed to cast away the saying, thut the righteousness 
of God is that righteousness by which he is righteous. 
So that, we are made righteous by the same righteous- 
ness whereby God is righteous : even as, we were made 
to exist by the same word whereby God spoke us into 
being : and as we exist now by his existence : und as also, 
his being is our being. But these things are of a nature 
too high to be pursued farther upon the present occa- 
sion, and are deeper than most men can enter into : and 
though they are useful and necessary, yet wo must 
leave them for some other opportunity. 

And this translation of the Hebrew by Hieronymus 
is also most correct, " The way straight before my 
face:" which we have rendered, " My way in thy 
sight," a sense directly the contrary. But the Hebrew 



agrees with the preceding clause, and makes it a repeti- 
tion : because " thy . righteousness," and " thy way, : ' 
are nearly the same thing ; for the " way " of God is 
the "righteousness" of God: in which we are to. live 
and walk, and not in our own way and our own righte- 
ousness. This is the way of God and the way of the 
righteous, which are spoken of Psalm i. 6, " For the 
Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of 
the ungodly shall perish." And this is what John 
meant, when he said, Matt. iii. 3, " Prepare ye the way 
of the Lord:" And it is the way of God, when, (as he 
saith he will, Leviticus xxvi. 12,) i He walks in us:' 
that is, works in us, lives in us, and speaks in us : for, 
saith Christ, " It is not ye that speak," Matt x. 20. 

And yet, our translation does not wrongly or impro- 
perly render this passage, " My way in thy sight : " 
because, when God works in us we are rightly said to 
work : though this working of ours is a being influenced 
and led by, and a being passive under, the hand of an 
operating God : as this verse- implies, when it says, 
i Lead me,' " Direct my way : " whereby it signifies, 
that the man does not act of himself, but is led and 
acted on of God. 

Nor do these two " before my face " and " in thy 
sight " militate against each other. For each expression 
is peculiar to the Holy Scriptures : and they both show, 
that all that we do should be done as in the sight of 
God, in his presence and before his eyes : which things 
are in the power neither of our own will nor of our own 
righteousness, but are a work and operation of divine 

And this figurative expression strikes at the ungodly 
and their perverseness : for they turn their faces to their 
own way, and their backs unto God, and so walk on. 
Thus, it is said, Leviticus xxvi. 21, i But if ye will 
walk contrary unto me : then will I also walk contrary 
unto you in continual fury,' &c. These characters consi- 
der and follow their own works only, and disregard the 
way and works of God : as it is written Isaiah ii. 6, 
" xhey worship the work of their own hands : that 


which their own fingers have made." And again, 
chap. v. 1 4, " But they regard not the work of the 
Lord, nor consider the operations of his hands." And 
all this, as we have said, proceeds from their hating the 
way of the cross and the life of faith, (which compel 
them to lay aside all that they are in themselves, and all 
that they know,) and from their endeavouring in vain to 
worship God according to the commandments and doc- 
trines of men : as the same Isaiah saith, chap. xxix. 13, 
and as we have it repeated Matt. xv. 9. 

The verb " direct " or ' make straight/ is of most 
frequent use in the scriptures : in which is set forth the 
lightness, or uprightness, or right direction of the heart : 
as in Psalm cxix. 7, " I will confess unto thee with up- 
rightness of heart." And Psalm lxxiii. 1, " How good 
is the God of Israel unto those that are of an upright 
heart." And again, Canticles i. 4, " The upright love 
thee." Hence, the word uprightness is sometimes put 
absolutely, as in Psalm xcvi. ' Thou hast prepared up- 
rightnesses : ' that is, it is thou alone that makest up- 
rightness : whatever uprightness of heart there is to be 
found any where, the whole is thy gift And those that 
are made thus upright, are the only persons who truly 
love and please God. 

And this uprightness is a sound opinion and know- 
ledge of God. Contrary to which, is corruption or per- 
version of heart : which latter (as wc have frequently 
shown) is the state of heart in the proud, " the counsel 
of the ungodly," and " the wisdom of the flesh ; " and 
there are many other terms whereby it is set forth in the 
scriptures. And that is called ah upright heart, which 
seeks not what is its own, but what is God's; and 
which looks with a single and unaltered eye to the will 
of God : on this will alone its eye is fixed in all things, 
both prosperous and adverse, and it will look at and 
know nothing else. — Whereas, a corrupt and perverted 
heart is that which seeks its own, has its eye only on its 
own advantage, and always looks tMo ways ; pretend- 
ing that it seeks the will of God, whereas it is all the 
while seeking its own profit. And this depravity and 


persuasion lie so deeply hidden in the corruption of na- 
ture, that God alone can discover it, as Jeremiah saith, 
chap. xvii.tP, "The heart is deceitful above all things, 
and desperately wicked : who can know it ? I the Lord 
search the heart, I try the reins," David, therefore, 
fearing that he should be led into this depravity, prays 
hi this Psalm i For the inheritances,' that the way of 
die Lord may be made plain before his face : that is, 
that he may perseveringly walk, and always live, in up- 
rightness of heart : which can only be where there is a 
pare and full faith of heart. 

This verse, therefore, is directed against the ungodly 
and workers of iniquity, who, leaving the true obedience 
•of God, worship him by their own works ; for it op- 
poses to such a manner of worship, the " righteous- 
ness " of God and the " way " of God : that is, the 
obedience of God. In which " way " David desires to 
be led and directed like a tractable sheep, on account 
of his enemies, the deceivers, the crafty and the all- 
destructive corrupters of the inheritances of God. And 
all this is more especially practised by those deceivers 
and destroyers in that greatest of all works which we 
call, worship : than which no one work is more exposed 
to ungodly abuses, superstitions, heresies, hypocrisy, 
and vanity : for the deepest iniquity of these corruptors 
is, their clothing themselves in the outside show of the 
best intentions, and their puffing themselves off: so that 
caution against them cannot be too earnestly inculcated. 

Ver. 9. — For there is no faithfulness in their 
mouth: their heart is vain: their throat is an open 
sepulchre : they act decitfully with their tongue. 

This is how the clauses of the verse are divided in 
the Hebrew: but we make of it two verses. Hieronymus 
translates the Hebrew thus, ' For there is no faithful- 
ness in their mouth : their inward parts are snares : 
their mouth is an open sepulchre : they speak lightly 
with their tongue.' And all this is quite correct : except 
that, it is generally and more rightly considered, that the 


Hebrew word signifies * vanities/ and not " snares : " 
but that is of no moment. 

It is evident, however, that the prophet is speaking 
now especially of the word of the doctrine of these cha- 
racters : which he accuses first of lying, then of vanity, 
then of destructiveness, and fourthly of deceivableness : 
for they so teach this their word of doctrine, that, under 
the appearance of being good, it is incurably destructive. 
— All these accusations are plainly and manifestly just 
from what has preceded. 

These lying teachers, says David, are all ready to 
teach : they are ull open mouthed, and full of words : 
but as Paul saith, 1 Tim. i. 7, " They understand not 
what they say, nor whereof they affirm : " that is, they 
neither understand their own words, nor the matter of 
which they are speaking. Therefore, " there is no 
faithfulness in their moutn : " though they seem to say 
things of all the most faithful and most true. In a 
word, " As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so 
do these also resist the truth/* 2 Tim. iii. 8 : they dure 
to contend with all, and even to persecute those whom 
they are convinced know better than themselves. And 
hence, we have this declaration, Job xlii. 7, " For ye 
have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my 
servant Job hath." 

And the reason why such characters do not speak 
what is right, is, because they work iniquity and depra- 
vity : that is, in all their doctrine they aim only at 
this : — to make the man seek his own onlv, and to trust 
in his own merits and works : or at least, they do not 
take this evil out of the way, nor untouch it, nor bring 
the man down to nothing, that he may become a fool, ant 1 
may acknowledge himself a sinner. Hence it comes to 
pass, that, whereas God is to be worshipped in fear, to be 
served in fear, to be rejoiced before with reverence, and 
to have every work done before him with a trusting only 
in the multitude of his mercy, these characters make 
men secure and presumptuous de|>endcrs upon their 
own works. 

And this is what those three friends of Job did 


throughout the whole of their contending with him. 
They said nothing about the mercy of Goa, (which is 
what Job above all things dwells upon and extols in the 
fear of his judgments,) but dispute only about that 
righteousness which praises the good and condemns the 
: bad. And hence, they are justly reproved of God as not 
having " spoken the thing that is right." « Because the 
real truth is, that no one can be found righteous before 
God on account of his own works, how many and 
great soever they may be. On the other hand, it is cer- 
tain that he who trusts in God only, is righteous, even 
without works. And while he abides in theft trust and 
confidence, he is assured that his works please God ; 
and that God views him now as neither sinning nor 
having sinned ; whereas, it was for such an assertion as 
this that Job's friends condemned him as a blasphemer ; 
concluding, from the calamity that had befallen him, 
that he had sinned anji was now under the wrath 
of God. 

• But you will say, What am I to do, when these 
characters speak forth things so excellent, and so con- 
sistent and true, that no reasonable argument can 
disprove diem ? as was the case with the friends of Job : 
and, in a word, when they bring forth out of the scrip- 
tures the very words of God ? — I answer : David is 
here speaking especially concerning those characters 
who adulterate and corrupt the Word of God. And it 
is the covering of the wickedness of such that he is here 
laying open ; when he says, " Their inward parts are 
snares," or l vanities.' As if he had said, Their words 
are plausible, and apparently holy and true : but they 
are not applied to a right and true purpose, but are 
made use of to produce a false understanding. Hence 
Jeremiah saith, chap. v. 1, " Run ye to and fro through 
the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek 
in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if 
there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the 
truth, and I will pardon it. And though they say, The 
Lord liveth : surely they swear falsely." And again, 
chap, xxiii. 28, " He that hath my Word, let- him 


speak my Word faithfully/* And what do all these 
scriptures show and prove, hut that the Word of God 
may be spoken both truly and vainly r 

These characters, therefore, are faithful and true as 
to all outward appearance indeed, but their inwurd parts 
are vain, and their heart is vain. They do not savour 
that in their heart, which their words outwardly teach ; 
though they wish it to be supposed, that they do hold 
that in their hearts which they teach with their mouths. 
Thus truth is only used by them as a covering for lies and 
vanity : and hence these words, " Their inward parts are 
vanities/' descriptively set forth the real nature of the 
doctrine of hypocrites : that they pretend one thing out* 
wardly, but cherish and foster another inwardly : that 
they pretend to godliness, but foster ungodliness. This 
is to be a minister of Satan transformed into an angel of 
light, 2 Cor. xi. 14. This is the subtlety of the serpent, 
saying that the knowledge of gods may be obtained 
unto, Gen. iii. 5. This is the religion of angels, of which 
Paul speaks, Col. ii. 1 8. 

Nor do they speak absurdly, who render this same 
Hebrew word iiavoth, not ' snares' only and ' vani- 
ties,' but also ' perversions ; ' because such men are in 
truth perverters of the words of God ; as wo have it 
written, Jeremiah xxiii. 36 % , u For ye have perverted the 
words of the living God." Hy which perversions they 
become vain in themselves, and snares in the wav of the 
truth and of those that seek it; according to that of 
Paul, 2 Tim. iii. 13, u Hut evil men and sedurcrs shall 
wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. " 

This perversion of mind was prefigured in all the 
idols of old that were either engraven or molten: and 


this Moses has by no means obscurely intimated, 
Exod. xxxii. where, when he is going to describe the 
making of the golden calf, he says ' That Aaron, after 
he had received the ear-rings of the women at their 
hands, made or molted it into a calf, and fashioned it 
with a graving tool:' in which passage, the Hebrew has 
* with a pen :' intimating, that it should come to pass, 
that these ungodly teachers should change the words of 


God, (which are the ear-rings of believing souls, the true 
daughters of Israel, and their only ornament,) into forms 
of their own, so as to make them convey their own sen- 
timents: and that the people also themselves should 
" heap to themselves teachers having itching ears/' and 
deceitful rulers, and should be turned unto fables, as 
Paul saith, 2 Tim. iv. 3. For Jeremiah, writing as it 
were a comment on Moses, says, chap. viii. 3, " Lo cer- 
tainly in vain made he it : the pen of the scribes is vain :" 
and again also chap. ix. And Isaiah also, chap. xliv. 
gives us a full and particular description of the forma- 
tion of an idol. And, Ezekiel xvi., Jerusalem is accused 
of having taken her ornaments of gold and silver which 
the Lord had given her, and made unto herself idols 
and images of men, and committed fornication with 

But however, all these things are but a mere joke, if 
we compare them with what has taken place in our times ; 
in which, nothing is so much boasted of as the worship 
of God, and the church, and the house of God : when 
at the same time, there are none' that less worship God 
than those, who, by their numerous rites and ceremonies, 
and their newly-invented works, have given themselves 
up, some to the sowing of discord, others to seeking 
after glory, others to hunting after gain, and all to seek- 
ing their own profit and advantage. And in all these 
things, they use as a pretext the Word of God ; when 
they teach, that we ought to pray, to do good works, and 
the like. And indeed, what evil, what enormity, what 
monstrous sin is not at this day committed under the 
cover of the terrible name of God, of St. Peter, St Paul, 
and the church ? For (to say nothing about the rest) 
some of these holy sects are religious above all others, 
merely to foster mutual hatred, and to fill their- own 
bellies : and yet these nevertheless mutter over this and 
other Psalms for the salvation of others, with a brow so 
impenetrably fortified with brass, that they cannot feel 
any thing of the vehement zeal with which the words of 
the Psalmist inveigh against those who do thus mutter 
them oven 

Their throat is an open sepulchre. 

There is no doubt, that by these words written in so 
forcible a way, David wishes to shew die insatiable vo- 
racity of these characters : for, not being content with 
having compared their throat to a sepulchre, which is 
that which devours all things, he heightens the represen- 
tation, by adding the epithet " open/' to shew their con- 
tinual readiness to devour with insatiability. 

The holy scriptures indeed liave ascribed to tliese 
characters, above all others, an insatiable avarice, and a 
devouring of the people. Hence Christ saith, Luke xx. 
47, ' That they devour widows houses, and for a pre- 
tence make long prayers.' And Micah iii. 3, " Who 
also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from 
off* them ; and they break their bones, and chop them in 
pieces as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron." 
And again, directly afterwards, verse 5, " Thus saith the 
Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, 
that bite them with their teeth, and cry, Peace ; and he 
that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare 
war against him/' And again, Amos iv. 1, " Hear this 
word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Sa- 
maria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, 
which say to their masters, Hring, and let us eat. 1 * Hut 
Isaiah Ivi. 10 — 12, describes them much more fully and 
particularly thus ; " His watchmen arc blind : they are 
all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark : 
sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea they are 
greedy dogs, which can never have enough, and they are 
shepherds which cannot understand : they all look to 
their own way, every one'for his gain from his quarter. 
Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and will till our- 
selves with strong drink : and to-morrow sliall !>e as this 
day, and much more abundant." 

Since it is evident, therefore, from these things, that 
such ungodly teachers do not teach the way of the Lord, 
nor seek any thing else, even in the things of God, but 
their own profit ; it follows, that they will much more 
seek their own profit in things pertaining unto this life. 


And hence it was, that Paul with so much boldness and 
confidence dared, Philip, iii. 2, to call them dogs ; saying, 
" Beware of dogs : beware of evil workers : beware of 
the concision." And again afterwards, verse 19, "Whose 
end is destruction, whose God is their belly." And in 
his epistle to Titus i. 12, he calls them, " liars, evil 
beasts, slow bellies : " and in both places he is speaking 
of seducing teachers. 

And therefore David, detesting with a holy indigna- 
tion the wickedness of such, exposes their lusts by a most 
filthy comparison. As if he had said, For what do these 
swine, by this their ungodly doctrine whereby they de- 
stroy souls, but serve their own bellies, whilst by preaching 
this their doctrine, they so deceive, the people as to seize 
upon, collect, and increase an immense store of worldly 
things with unending and insatiable voracity ? In a word, 
he speaks of their " throat " as Paul in his epistle to 
Titus did of their " belly." As if he had said, Ye are all 
" throat " and nothing else ; and that throat is like an 
" open sepulchre ; " for ye devote yourselves to nothing 
else but to devouring the substance of men. 

And I would add to this another way, in which these 
words may be understood, namely, that they are called a 
u throat," which is like an " open sepulchre," because 
they lead the souls of those men by their -impious word 
ana works into the swallowing jaws of hell : and this is 
the way in which Augustine understands and treats upon 
the passage, though it seems somewhat more remote from 
the literal meaning ; and I shall not dwell upon it my- 
self here, because it is more easily explained than the 
literal meaning, on account of its agreement with the suc- 
ceeding and preceding context : but I entertain no pre- 
judice against the judgment of another, as to the pro- 
priety of the spiritual acceptation. 

Since, therefore, these teachers of the people reap their 
carnal things, like the Levites, (but under the most plau- 
sible cover and pretext, while they sow unto them their 
spiritual things, as they pretend,) there grows and. in- 
creases from this their dominion an avarice, and also an 
ignorance of the " way " of God. And thus, instead of 


sowing spiritual things, they sow the most impious doc- 
trines, which savour only of the flesh : and because the.-c 
doctrines please the commonalty more than those which 
are truly spiritual, they are easily seduced, and their 
teachers in the mean time reap their carnal things, until 
they have swallowed up their farms together with their 
whole substance. And thus the teachers, for their un- 
godly labour, obtain and enjoy the happiness of the un- 
godly in this world ; while the |>cople, for their ungodly 
religion, are destroyed with a double destruction, the de- 
struction of both body and soul. 

Nor is it without its peculiar appropriateness, that 
David compares the " throat" of these to an " o|>cn 
sepulchre," rather than to any other kind of voracity ? 
For why does he this? Perhaps it is l>ecau>e the whole 
substance and possession of things which are ac- 
quired by a wicked ministry, and under a wicked pre- 
tence, is of that unhappy nature, that it returns to no 
good use whatever, but is like unto dead bodies, which, 
when once buried, never return to life. For David does 
not say, Their throat is a coffer or chest ; so as to leave 
some hope of that coming forth into use attain which has 
been put into it : but he says " sepulchre," from which 
there is no hope of ever regaining that which has been 
once put into it. And so it i* at this day ; for the pos- 
sessions of the church, especially the greater ones, are of 
that kind, and appropriated to, that use, that they are 
made to serve grooms and harlots, and the most infa- 
mous of mankind, and arc left for that purpose by wills 
and successions : so that the poor believers in Chri>t are 
not considered worthy of them. This is well known, not 
only by general report, but by actual experience. Where- 
fore, to devour substance, and to communicate it to none 
of the faithful in Christ, is the peculiar privilege and 
characteristic of the " workers of iniquity ; " that is, the 
martyrs of the devil. 

And now we have, lastly, " They act deceitfully with 
their toninies," or l Thev speak lightly with their tongues;' 
or as the Hebrew has it, ' They fawn and flatter with 
their tongues.' This belongs to that which precedes ; 



for they do not consider that their duty is, to teach such 
things as shall lead the people to godliness, but to tell 
such impious fables as shall please them. All their con- 
cern is, not to offend the ears of the people, to the end 
that they may grow fat, and increase in wealth. They 
are of the number of those, whom Isaiah xxx. 10, de- 
scribes as saying, " Speak unto us smooth things." And 
Paul saith of them, 2 Tim. iv. 3, " That they heap unto 
themselves teachers having itching ears." And Rom. 
xvi. 1 8, " For they that are such serve not our Lord 
Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by good words 
and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." Such 
therefore speak not the truth, from fear of ignoble po- 
verty ; but they willingly speak those things which please 
the people, from the hope of amassing wealth : and, 
therefore, they become " an open sepulchre." 

It is at these light, flattering, or (as our translation 
has it) " deceitful " tongues, that the present verse 
strikes ; for such tongues are more destructive and pes- 
tilential than all the poison of asps. And the reason why 
such characters act thus, is because truth is unpalatable, 
and the word of the cross more rough than the camel's 
hair of John the baptist ; for he that lifts up his voice in 
the desert of ungodliness is not clad in soft clothing. 
And therefore, a messenger of the Word of God must 
be poor, or at least cannot be rich long together. And 
hence arises that excuse which is so universally made at 
this day, — l That they do not teach and declare the truth, 
because by their so doing the ruin of the church, and of 
the rich wealth of the monasteries of Christ, would soon 
follow ; and no small portion of dainties would be taken 
from the throat and the belly.' Therefore, that the 
" throat " may not be robbed, and that the yawning 
u sepulchre " may be kept open, there must be speaking 
lightly with the tongue, there must be flattering the 
people, and conniving at their vices ; and, if they be of 
die higher class, their vices must be called virtues : what- 
ever they say or do, or leave undone, must be called un- 
alterably right, and every thing that is the contrary must 
be condemned as heretical and ungodly, and be perse- 


cated. Proceed thus, and your throat will be safe, and 
your belly secure ; you will not be excommunicated, nor 
deprived of your benefice. And if you will speak a little 
more lightly still with your tongue, and flatter a little 
more brazenly, your throat will be distended, the sepul- 
chre will open wider, and your belly will be made to give 
more room ; you will be loaded with benefices and dona- 
tions, "and adorned with honours ; your sermons will be 
looked upon as letters of gold, your books will be im- 
mortalized, and every place on which you tread will be 
considered a bed of roses. 

I believe it is quite clear, and manifest to every one, 
that the world is at this day tilled with flatterers of this 
kind ; for all the religious ones have their mouths filled, 
and their zeal fraught with flattery and levity of speech. 
And thus is fulfilled that which Ezekiel saith, xiii. 18, 
19, " Woe to them that sew pillows to all arm-holes, 
and make kerchiefs upon the head of every age, to hunt 
souls ! Will ye hunt the souls of ray people, and will ye 
take the souls alive that come unto you? And will ye 
pollute me among my people (that is, by teaching a false 
opinion of me instead of the truth) for handfuls of bar- 
ley, and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should 
not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, 
by your lying to my people that hear your lies ?" How 
beautifully applicable this scripture is, and how it illus- 
trates the words of David now before us, is shown in 
what immediately follows, verse 21, "I will tear your ker- 
chiefs, (that is, your flattering speeches and x^*™A'/y/ai, 
as the apostle calls them,) and deliver my people out of 
your hand, and they shall no more he in your hand to be 
hunted." And then it follows, verse 22, " Hccause with 
lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom 
I have not made sad, (for flatterers must not only teach 
the ungodly false things, but must also persecute the 
doctrines of the truly righteous, otherwise their throat 
would be soon stopped up,) and strengthened the hands 
of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked 
w *y> hy promising him life : therefore ye shall see no 
more vanity, nor divine divinations, &c." 


It is manifest, therefore, that by ' deceitful ' tongue, 
our translator understood flattering and fawning tongue ; 
that is, a toqgue that will teach the ungodly ungodly 
things, and will jpersecute the godly for the sake of those 
worldly advantages. And therefore, there is no faith* 
fulness in their mouths, their inward parts are vain, 
perverse, and deceitful. Such then is the meaning of 
this verse. 

I am inclined to be displeased with myself for having 
been so diffuse and prolix, and for having used so many 
words, in my endeavour to inculcate the meaning of so 
short a sentence of the Holy Spirit. But when I con- 
sider, that I am not writing for the learned, the acute, 
and the skilful, but for the simple and the inexperienced, 
and particularly for those who are in the ministry also, 
I seem to myself to have been even now too brief and 
sparing ; and especially as these are some of those things 
that are essentially necessary to be known, and which 
have been buried throughout the world under supersti- 
tions and idolatries, and have now for a long time, and 
by long habit, been driven out of the hearts of men ; 
which makes it, in my opinion, highly necessary that they 
should be sounded forth with the continual thunder of 
voices, that the sleeping man may be roused and awakened. 
Let the delicate reader, therefore, either know that these 
things are not written for him, or let him remember that 
it is his duty to exercise patience for the benefit of the 
weak and inexperienced ; and let him leave me, after 
the manner of the .patriarch Jacob of old, Gen. xiii. 
14, to follow on softly with the children, the flocks of 
sheep, and the herds of oxen, as I see they shall be able 
to bear it : lest, if I should outdrive them one day, all 
the flock should die. 

Verse 10. — Judge them, O God, let them fall from 
their own counsels ; cast them out in the multitude of 
their iniquities, for they have provoked thee to anger, 
"0 Lord. 

The former part of this verse is by us annexed to the 
verse preceding, but this does not at all better the sense. 


The prophet having hitherto described and condemned 
all ungodly hypocrites, and " workers of iniquity," now 
prays that such may be marked out by the judgment of 
God ; because they are excused, approved, and defended 
by the judgment of men, and considered to be just and 
true, and that their name and reputation as such cannot 
be taken away from them. As if he had said with Je- 
remiah, v. 30, 31, "A wonderful and horrible thing is 
committed in the land ; the prophets prophesy falsely, 
and the priests bear rule by their means ; and my people 
love to have it so : and what will ye do in the end there- 
of? " For who can resist those who are defended by the 
voice of the common people, and by the great ? Yet thus 
in truth are the ungodly workers of iniquity armed against 
one poor preacher of the truth ! Such a preacher, there- 
fore, must of necessity make many open declarations 
that shall be deemed scandalous and seditious, that shall 
give offence to the ears of those righteous ones, and that 
sh^ll be judged by the people to l>e erroneous and here- 
tical. And what can he do in the mean time ? Nothing 
but this,— call upon God for his judgment, committing 
his cause into his hands. 

The Hebrew word, which is rendered "judge them," 
is by Hieronvmus translated ' condemn them.' The 
word signifies properly, that judgment by which men are 
made manifest, their ungodliness being laid o[>en to view 
In which sense Paul also saith, 2 Tim. iii. <), " Hut they 
shall proceed no farther : for their folly shall be made 
manifest unto all men, as theirs also was." It is there- 
fore as if David had said, Grunt that, as they have lately 
been approved, loved, and boasted of by all, so their folly 
may be now made manifest, and they themselves 
hated, cast out, and detested by all ; that all men 
may see, that they have approved of that which thou 
hast condemned. For I have seen, and still do see, this 
to happen to all heretics, that they first of all please men ; 
but afterwards their bones are broken, (as it is said, 
Psalm xxxv.) and they are confounded, because Clod re- 
jects them. Their glorying and boasting, therefore, and 
their applause and pomp, are in the mean time to be 



borne with. Hence we hear Jeremiah saying, xx. 8, 9, 
" I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. For 
Strice I spake, I cried out, I cried iniquity and destruc- 
tion ; tte&tise the word of the Lord was made a reproach 
djitb ine;~ariti a derision daily." 

•"' Th&e Words of David, therefore, do not refer to the 
iast judgment ; . but are a prayer, that the truth may tri- 
umph through the judgment of God, which such charac- 
ters oppress through the judgment of men. Do thou, 
& Loird, says David, rise up and judge, for men do not 
judge nghtly. 

', u Let them fall from their own thoughts." Thoughts 
here is of the same signification as " counsel of the un- 
godly" in Psalnl i. 1, and rendered from the same 
original word. Wherefore it does not mean simply 
•thoughts,' but, as we folly shewed, Psalm i., ungodly 
opinions, sentiments, and ideas, and human-reason dis- 
ptnatictas concerning God and divine things, and also 
human inventions delivered to others as right doctrines. 
Herice there is a peculiar force lying in each word, both 
in " thoughts" and "own." These are their "own" 
thoughts indeed, and not God's: according to that of 
Isaiah lv. 8, 9, " For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as 
the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways 
higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your 
thoughts." And what does the prophet shew by these 
words, but that the thoughts of men, how holy soever 
they may appear, are but earthly, vain, and lying : ac- 
cording to that of Psalm xciv. 11," The Lord knoweth 
the thoughts of man that they are vain." 

Hence David calls them " thoughts " by way of ex- 
pressive force ; intimating, that they are vague, unstable 
motions of the mind ; (for that is the nature of a mere 
thought;) though they consider them to be decrees more 
stable and durable than the rock by the sea-shore. And 
therefore it is, that the Apostle admonishes the Hebrews, 
chap. xiii. 9, " Be not carried about with divers and 
strange doctrines." And the Ephesians, chap. iv. 14, 
be exhorts not to be " tossed to and fro by every. wind 


of doctrine.' 9 What these wandering flies of doctrine 
are, is fully set forth unto us in the plague of Egypt. 
And therefore, Christ said, that the doctrine of John 
was not like " a reed shaken in the wind : " for the doc- 
trine of our faith is a firm key-stone, a mountain, a rock 
that laughs both at the winds and the waves of the whole 
sea ; and it will do so for ever, because the righteousness 
of God is for ever and ever. 

But what means this, David's praying, that not 
their thoughts only, but the persons themselves should 
fall ? Augustine thinks that this verse contains the words 
of one prophesying, and not of one praying : or that, if 
they are a prayer, they pray that these persons may fall 
savingly, and be changed to sound thoughts concerning 
God: and his interpretation is good and admissible. 
But the figure of speech here used, still induces me to 
consider the meaning to be like that of Psalm lxxxi. 0, 
" I removed his shoulder from the burden." Because 
in the world, where the powers of darkness still rule, it 
is in vain for any one to try to prevent the existence of 
ungodly doctrines and thoughts, for it must be that of- 
fences will come. But our care is to be this, that we 
turn away from such doctrines and thoughts themselves, 
as being those which closely cleave unto us, and there- 
fore will never fall from us of their own accord, but will 
be continually rushing on us, and most obstinately as- 
saulting us. 

If these things be so, therefore, it appears that those 
who wish have no errors and heresies left, and no im- 
pieties to exist, only attempt this, — the burning of all 
heretics, and remaining in the end free heretics them- 
selves. For I consider that it is a conflict, and not a 
state of ease, that is intimated by the verse in question : 
a conflict against the thoughts of men : for he does not 
pray that the thoughts might fall from the men, but the 
men from the thoughts. Because the human heart and 
its own thoughts, or its own counsel, are so inseparably, 
and, as it were, adulterously conuected together, and 
in love with each other, that to separate them nothing 
less than, the great and divine power and opera- 



• • 

don of the grace jof Gpd are required. And David 
wished rather to say, " fall from " than ' turn from ;' be- 

: caus6 he wishes such persons to come down from pride 
to humility ; for " thoughts " puffup to that height, that 
such men cannot acknowledge themselves sinners, nor 
be humbled down to the grace of God. 

But hdwever, he that would rather understand the 
passage as a prophesy, (which is the sense that I the 
rather prefer,) may easily satisfy himself with the pro- 

' priety of such an acceptation. — That the ungodly fall 
from their thoughts when their confidence in them fails, 
ajnd they cannot establish them. An example of which 
we have in the building of the tower of Babel, (for 
therein the attempt, the labours, the work, and the end 
df all ungodly teachers are most beautifully represented,) 
which, when those impious ones had begun, they were 
not able to finish. And this Christ has also set forth, 
Luke xiv. 28, in the parable concerning the man who 
should begin to build the tower. And in the same way 
iilso speaks Psalm xxi. 11, " iThey imagined a mis- 
chievous device, which they are not able to perform." 

Such, therefore, " fall from their thoughts," when 
they perish in the execution of them, and leave a monu- 
ment and example behind them, that all might see what 
they imagined and attempted, and how they failed of 

" accomplishing their purposes. In this way it was that 
the Arians fell, and left their memory and their thoughts 
which they could not accomplish, a subject of derision, 

* and a fable in the mouths of all. And it is such a judg- 
ment as this that the prophet here predicts, and prays 
t^at it might fall upon all ungodly teachers and per- 
formers of " their own thoughts," that they may not be 
able to accomplish that which they imagine against true 
godliness. And this takes place in the execution of it 
when they are judged of God, (as David says); for as 
long as they are judged of men, they increase and pros- 
per in their thoughts. 

And why did he not simply say, " Cast them out?" 
Why did h6 add, " in the multitude of their iniquities ? " 
Moreover, the verb ' Gast out,' signifies, according to 


the original Hebrew word, 4 a dispersing ;' in the same 
way as the builders of the tower of Babel were scattered 
abroad from thence upon the luce of all the earth, and 
left off to build the city, Gen. xi. 8. And in the same 
way the blessed virgin saith, Luke i. 51, " He hath 
scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.** 
This scattering Samson prefigured by his foxes, Judges 
xv. 4 ; and the same is represented by that scripture, 
u A kingdom divided against itself is brought to desola- 
tion," Matt. xii. 25. For no heretics have ever been 
conquered by force or craft, but by dissension among 
themselves only ; nor did Christ contend with them in 
any other way, than by sending in among them the spirit 
of confusion and dissension. Such a spirit as tins was 
sent among the Shechemitcs, Judges ix. 23, and among 
she builders of the tower of Babel ; and, under the New 
Testament, among the Arians, Donatists, and Pelagians. 
And indeed, the Jews perished by their final destruc- 
tion through dissension. And hence, the holy man 
Hilary, in his book upon the Trinity, glories in declaring, 
' That the war of the heretics is the |>eace of the church : ' 
for upon their dissension is sure to follow their coqmral 

This is what Christ also signifies, when, in describ- 
ing " the strong man armed," who is to be despoiled of 
his armour by a stronger than he, he says that his ar- 
mour, in which he trusted, is to he u divided " and dis- 
persed. And so also Hosea, x. l l J, comparing ini(|iiity 
to a multitude, says, that thev are to he dispersed hv di- 
vision. " Israel (saith he) is an empty vine ; he bringeth 
forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of 
his fruit he hath increased his altars: according to the 
goodness of his land they have made goodly images. 
Their heart is divided : now shall they he found faulty : 
he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their 
images : " which words beautifully explain the present 
verse of David. For what doe* this increasing of altars 
and multiplying of images, according to the goodness of 
their land, mean, hut this, that Israel multiplied into 
many .states and cities, and erected unto themselves as 


many altars ? As we read Jeremiah ii. 28, " For ac- 
cording to the number of thy cities are thy Gods, 
O Judah." Upon which division soon followed their 
dispersion, while each city or division watched and 
wished for the rain of the other, that his own might 

The meaning of David, therefore, is this. — • They 
are ungodly in many ways ; they invent many supersti- 
tions, and practise many kinds of idolatry : and they 
are also divided among themselves like the sadducees 
and pharisees of old, and like their imitators and fol- 
lowers in Our day. According, therefore, to this multi- 
tude of their iniquities, do thou, O Lord, cast them 
out, that their ungodliness may be brought to nought, 
by the strength of their concord being broken.' 

If then these things be true, and will take place ac- 
cording to David's prayer, there appears to be a great 
persecution, devastation, and scattering hanging over 
the present state of the church ; which being divided 
into so many sects, and the members all seeming to 
fight against each other, threatens a terrible shaking 
and an awful destruction: for there are not now as 
many altars as there are cities only, but almost as many 
as there are heads : so wholly has brotherly love gone 
to ruin : and therefore, it must of necessity follow, that 
whatsoever exists without that, is idolatry : for it does 
not seek that which is God's. And hence, all the spe- 
cious lives and conversations of all our priests, religious 
ones, and people, being destitute of, and disregarding 
this love, (for such is the present state of the church,) 
may be rightly called a multitude of iniquities; and 
into which we are divided and scattered more and more 
daily, each one, according to Isaiah liii. 6, turning " to 
his own way :" all which (as I have before observed) 
was beau ti hilly prefigured by the foxes of Samson, 
Judges xv. 4, which had their faces turned from each 
other, and fire-brands tied to their tails ! 

" For they have provoked thee to anger." — This in 
the Hebrew is, * they have embittered thee.' And, as I 
have observed, above all sins that are committed, this 


makes God angry, wrath, and bitter the most, — when 
men omit that which is commanded, and do a something 
else which they think is better, and which is not com- 
manded at aH. This is that aven, that disobedience 
itself, and that idolatry and working of iniquity. And 
hence it is, that the prophet says of them, that they " pro- 
voked God to anger" and made him bitter. And other 
prophets do the same, where they call the house of 
Israel her that makes God bitter, provokes him to 
angier, irritates him, and makes him wrath, &c. 

And we are particularly to observe, that the wont 
" iniquities" in this verse, is, in the original, a word dif- 
ferent from all those which have preceded. For it is not 
aven, nor rescha, but PtscHA, that we here find in 
the Hebrew : which is a general noun that signifies all 
transgression: as in Isaiah i. 2, "I have nourished 
children, and they have despised me:" that is, they 
have sinned against me, or they have despised mc by 
their trangressions." And hence, Ilieronymus translates 
this clause " according to the multitude of their wicked- 
nesses:" and what these transgressions are in their 
nature and kind, he has enumerated above, where he 
said, " Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in 
wickedness." For David designs by all these things to 
show, that these characters sinned, transgressed, ami 
prevaricated in many ways, and so as to provoke God 
-to aager, even while they thought they were pleasing 
him. And hence, by saying ' the multitude of their 
iniquities,' he does not only mean that they were 
divided, (as we have l>cfore observed,) into many and 
various sects, but also, that every separate one of those 
sects, sinned in many ways; which ways we have 
described under our foregoing seven heads. 

Ver. 1 1. — And let all those that hope in thee rejoice : 
they shall shout for joy for ever 9 and shall dwell therein. 
And they also that lofoe thy name shall glory in thee. 

All this is one verse in the Hebrew; and Ilierony- 
mus translates it thus, " And let all those that hope. in 
thee rejoice, they shall praise for ever ; thou shalt de- 


fend them ; and they that love thy name shall be joyful 
Hi thee." In which last clause, our translator has put 
**■ shall glory " for " shall be joyful." But others again 
vary wonderfully in rendering these words which contain 
so many feelings and affections : so that we cannot 
harmonize all their variations without going to the ori- 
ginal Hebrew, the fountain head. 

We here find four words put together to convey a 
fulness of expression, — ' To rejoice/ * to hope,' * to 
shout for joy,' and 'to glory.' But the expression 
" shall dwell in them " indicates the affection of hope. 
How then do they differ ? This is difficult to be investi- 
gated and found out ; because these affections are of a 
high and sublime, nature, and can neither be taught nor 
understood but by those who have experienced them. 
This one thing however is certain, according to the 
tenor • and scope of the whole Psalm, — that David is 
speaking of that joy, and quiet safety of heart, which 
arise from, and stand, not in the removal of external 
evils, (for that is where patience more properly reigns,) 
but in the remission of sins, and impurity and good as- 
surance of conscience, where hope reigns. For the 
object and intent of the Psalmist is to show, in what 
way men may become righteous and godly; that is, by 
the mercy and through the fear of God, and not by 
works of iniquity. All men seek to be glad and to re- 
joice, but all do not seek rightly ; and therefore, they 
find not that for which they seek. 

Hence we will divide this verse into two, that it 
may as it were be a repetition ; and that, " And let all 
those that hope in thee rejoice : they shall shout for joy 
for ever, and shall dwell therein," may be the same as, 
" And they also that love thy name, shall glory in 
thee." For the Psalmist seems to oppose these affec- 
tions of joy to the poele aven ; that is, the " workers of 
iniquity,-" or, as it is very frequently translated, 'the 
workers of pain ;' because, as I have before observed, 
this idolatry and outward show of works, is the labour 
of fools, which afflicts them and kills them with sorrow, 
and which never suffers them to know real joy of heart: 


as they themselves say, Malachi iii. 14, " And what 
profit is it that we have walked mournfully before the 
Lord of hosts?" And again, Isaiah Iviii. 3, " Where- 
fore have we fasted, and thou seest not? Wherefore have 
we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?" 
And the remaining part of the chapter, and also that 
which follows, abundantly set forth this misery. 

Dost thou desire to know then, where true joy of 
heart is to be found, and in what it consists? " Let all 
those that hope in thee (says David) rejoice. 1 ' This truth, 
therefore, remains firm, and this definition sure, — that 
the heart of man cannot rejoice in works, nor in any 
thing else but in a pure hope : he, therefore, that seeks 
to rejoice in any other way besides this hope, will toil 
much, and will find all his labour in vain at last ! For, happened to the woman with a bloody issue, men- 
tioned in the Gospel, that she spent all her substance 
upon physicians, and only grew worse ; so it happens 
unto all, who, under perturbations of conscience, run 
about to this place and that, and consult now this persoq 
and now that, now doing this and now that, and trying all 
ways to obtain quietude for the heart ; but they seek not 
after this hope, which alone can bring them the quiet 
they are seeking. And in this soul-butchering work arc 
all those lying teachers engaged, who impiously teach 
their works, satisfactions, indulgences, and pilgrimages, 
and who administer their tid.-e consolations, and, by 
other works of darkness like these, deceive mankind ; 
the number of whom, in the present day, it is out of 
ones power to recount. 



Since this l hope' is so often taught throughout the 
Psalms, let us here make a winewhat more extensive 
and full digression than u^ual ; that we muv consider 
once for all the force and nature of this term ( hope : * 
for these things are very necessary to be Known by 
ig 9 weak, and simple consciences. 


As, therefore, impatiency, dejection, and confusion 
do not, properly and primarily, proceed from the multi- 
tude or magnitude of die afflictions, adversities, or evils, 
of what kind soever they may be, but rather from the 
feelings of the person who is alarmed at them, and who 
is in an unwise way thirsting after the contrary things, 
prosperity, happiness, and honour ; so, despair, spiri- 
tual dejection, and the confusion of a disquieted con- 
science, do not, properly and primarily, arise from the 
multitude of magnitude of sins, but rather from the 
feelings of the person who is alarmed at them, and 
Who is in an unwise way seeking after an abundance of 
good works, and righteousness and salvation. 

^The Jirst part of my observation is clear: for David 
here says, " Let all those that hope in thee rejoice : " 
if then, he says " all " shall rejoice in the Lord who 
hope in him, he does not permit us to understand that 
any are excepted, not even those who are in tribulation : 
nay, it is concerning such that he more particularly 
speaks, when he says, that such hope in the Lord while 
they are afflicted in themselves and by men. These are 
the faithful in Christ: in whom, as the sufferings of 
Christ abound, so do the consolations of Christ abound 
also ; as the Apostle saith 2 Cor. i. 5. For they know 
where and in whom they ought to rejoice and to glory ; 
namely, in the Lord. And therefore, through this their 
wisdom, they are not cast down, they are not con- 
founded, they are not impatient ; because, they do not 
aim at things prosperous, things pleasant, nor things 
honourable. Hence, they pass through a tranquil me- 
dium between good and evil, according as it is written, 
4 Nothing that happeneth to the just shall disturb him.' 
And, Proverbs xxviii. 1 , it is said, " The wicked flee when 
no man pursueth, but the righteous is bold as a lion." 

But, they who are ignorant and unwise, and will 
not understand that rejoicing and glorying is to be in 
God alone, — what else do such, but become dejected, 
confounded, and impatient? and that, not because 
adverse or afflicting circumstances come upon them, but 
because, when these come upon them, they do not turn 


unto God, (which proceeds from their foolish feelings,) 
but look anxiously after the prosperous and pleasant 
things which they have lost. Thus, they flee, but cannot 
flee away nor escape, because they know not where to 
flee. Hence, the whole cause of every ones sorrow, is, 
the unwisely anxious search after joy and honour : for 
if men were not glued to these things, adversities would 
cause them no uneasiness : according to the trite pro- 
verb, ' The world is ruled by opinions : and such as 
each man's opinion of his condition is, such is his con- 
dition.' Hence, contempt can neither profit nor. injure 
any one: but when it is regarded, then it profits or 
hurts, and then only. 

The other part also is equally certain: because, 
many and great sinners have been saved. And those 
very persons whom David here says rejoice in the Lord, 
would say with Job, ix. 3, " We could not answer him 
one of a thousand," and hereby they acknowledge both 
the multitude and magnitude of their sins. Herein 
God shows, that the cause of despair is not the multi- 
tude 6r magnitude of the sins, but the wrong affection 
in those who seek after good works in the time of their 
trouble of conscience, in order to set them against their 
sins as a counterbalance and satisfaction. For such 
imagine by this their depraved opinion, that their sins 
have been and can be, overcome by such works : and 
therefore, not !>eing able to find the victory, after which 
they labour, and not knowing that they ought to turn 
to the mercy of God, desperation of necessity follows : 
for he must necessarily become impatient, who, neglect- 
ing all regard of God, attempts to put good for evil 
and cannot succeed : because, no works whatever can 
make satisfaction for, or procure quietness from, one 
sin, even though it be a venial sin. 

And in this same way also, the conscience of an un- 
godly man at the point of death, and drawing near to 
the judgment of God, disputes with itself thus: () mi- 
serable man that I arti ! O if I had but now done many 
good things ! O if I had but never done any evil ! If I 
had but remained pure ! And what do these words full 


of folly and iniquity, but most eminently prove, that this 
saying of Augustine is true, ' This unhappy contrariety 
falls upon the ungodly man. When living he forgets 
Qod, and when dying he forgets himself.' Hence such 
an one seeks the good, and hates the evil ; and yet does 
not feel that he never did so much evil, nor less sought 
good, than in this very hour, when he says these things, 
and acts thus unwisely; for he proves that he does not 
hope in God, but presumes upon his own works, while 
he thus looks back upon his past works, and presumes : 
vhereas, these are not things upon which he has any 
right to presume after all. And if he imagines that he 
can hope in God on account of his works, (in which case 
he dreams that he shall hope in God more confidently 
and more joyfully, if he can but see before him a plenty 
of good works,) it is plainly manifest, that he hopes more 
in his own works them in God : than which, nothing is 
more horrible or more impious ! 

Whereas, the righteous, even though they sin, despair 
not. Because, as among temporal evils, that is, the suf- 
ferings of this life, good tilings are intermingled : so it is 
also with respect to spiritual eVils, that is, sins ; for spi- 
ritual good things are intermingled with them also. These 
righteous, therefore, neither presume upon spiritual 
blessings when they live in the enjoyment of them, nor 
despair when they sin : for they know, that they ought nei- 
ther to be elated by the one, nor cast down by the other; 
because they feel, that the one state proceeds from God's 
gifts being bestowed upon them, and the other from their 
being taken away : and whichsoever of these takes place, 
they still remain cleaving close to the giver himself. And 
this is what is said, Prov. xxiv. 16, " For a just man 
falleth seven times, and riseth up again : but the wicked 
fall into mischief: " that is, they rise not again, but fall 
into despair. If thou hopest, and canst hope, only when 
thou doest good, thou wilt certainly despair when thou 
doest evil. Take heed, therefore, lest that of Psalm xlix. 
1 8, " He will praise thee when thou doest well unto him :" 
and that of Luke viii. 13, " And in time of temptation 
fall away," be applicable unto thee: take heed that 


thou add not iniquity unto iniquity, and blasphemy 
unto disobedience. 

Hence, it is with dread to be feared, lest a twofold 
evil should fall on these ungodly : that is, lest first, when 
they find all things going on prosperously and gloriously 
with them, they should imagine they are rejoicing and 
glorying in God, when in truth they are not trusting in 
God, but in his gifts, that is, in their prosperity ; as 
temptation will in the end prove. And next, lot, when 
they are looked upon by all as living a holy and reli- 
gious life, (especially in this our most perilous day, which 
is so much devoted to the observance of the outward 
show and bug-bears of works,) they should imagine that 
they are hoping most firmly in God, when they are all 
the while ignorantly hoping in their own sanctity : as 
the hour of death will prove. For when such are draw- 
ing near to judgment, and are dying in full confidence 
under a self-persuasion of their good life, which is the 
ground of their confidence in God, (the destruction of all 
good hope,) it viill happen unto them just as it does with 
a man who sets his foot upon a log of wood swimming in 
the sea — the log slips aside, and Tie is suddenly lost in 
the deep: or, as Isaiah saith of them, xxx. 13, •'There- 
fore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, 
swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh sud- 
denly at an instant." 

As, therefore, that patience which is exercised in 
prosperity is no patience at all ; so the hope that is ex- 
ercised in merits is no hope at all. And, as it is possible 
and easy to have patience in prosperity ; so it is possible 
and easy to exercise hope on merits. And in each case 
there is eminent peril. In the former, lest the man should 
become proud and secure ; in the latter, lest, l>eing puffed 
up with his own righteousness, he should disregard the 
fear of God, (in which fear the exercise of true ho|>e lies.) 
For the nature of patience is to be exercised only in ad- 
versity, and that of hope to be exercised only under sin. 
Not, however, that we should sin, in order that we may 
be in a state to hope ! No, God forbid ! We have sins 
enough already, both of those which we have committed 


ourselves, and of those in -which we were born, (for all 
our own good works are but sins before God,) to make 
us fit subjects for the exercise of hope. 

• Is God cruel, then, who condemns all our works and 
performances ? No. But his mercy is unspeakable in 
his condescending to communicate himself unto us, and 
to take away all our own confidence from us, which 
is the only thing that opposes his mercy. He has given 
a law, in and by which he has included " all under 
sin, that he might have mercy upon all," Rom. xi. 32. 
For where there is no law there is no sin ; where there is 
no sin there is no mercy ; where there is no mercy there 
is no salvation ; and where there is no salvation there is 
no God. Hence, the strength of sin is the law ; the 
strength of the law is mercy ; the strength of mercy is 
hope ; the strength of hope is salvation ; and the strength 
of salvation is God through Jesus Christ our Lord : for 
he " is the God of salvation, and to him belong the 
issues from death," Psalm lxviii. For the law works 
sin in us ; mercy works (that is fulfils) the law ; hope 
works mercy ; salvation works hope ; and God works 
salvation : and all is in Christ Hence, salvation de- 
scends from God through Christ unto sin, and we ascend 
from sin through Christ unto God. 

From this it follows, that as, in temporals, good 
things are given unto us of God, that we may by them 
be led the more to worship him, hope in him, and love 
him, (whereas, from the depravity of our nature, we 
worship, hope in, and love him less in the time of pros- 
perity than in the time of adversity ; nay, in the latter 
we worship, hope in, and love him, more than in the 
former ;} so, in spiritual things, the blessings and merits 
of grace are given unto us of God, that by diem we may 
be led the more fully to hope in him : whereas behold, 
by the depravity of our nature, we presume upon these 
freely granted blessings, and exercise under them the 
least hope of all, and are more easily brought to hope in 
him under sin. Hence it seemed good to the divine 
goodness, and necessary, to raise the cross, and by the 
preaching of it tQ save fools and sinners that believe, apd 


to reprobate the self-wise and saints : as the Apostle 
saith, 1 Cor, i. " But we preach Christ crucified, to the 
Greeks (that is to the wise) foolishness, and to the Jews 
(that is the saints) a stumbling-block ; but them that are 
called, both Jews and Greeks, (that is sinnera and fools,) 
Christ the power of God and wisdom of God : " and so 
on as it follows in the chapter. 

Wherefore, as it is most perilous for a man to be left 
always in prosperity, because in such a state he never or 
very rarely learns to love God ; so it is more perilous 
still for a man to be left in much spiritual prosperity all 
his life Ions, for he will scarcely ever learn to hope in 
God. And hence it comes to pass, that when God 
begins in mercy to visit such, they not only fall into per- 
turbation of conscience, but, (if they hapj>en to be of a 
more incorrigible nature than usual,) they will sometimes 
even fall into the open act of sin ; that is, into fornication 
or something of that kind : — In such a way does God 
think fit to deal with them : leading them, as it were, to 
his mercy in a way that is contrary to mercy : and per- 
mitting them to fall into sin in order to deliver them 
from sin. k 

But however, these things are higher than many can 
enter into and understand : and perhaps they may say, 
by way of objection, Well then ! we had better sin only, 
and lay aside doing good altogether! Or, as the Apostle 
says, in stating the objections that such will make, 
" Let us do evil that good may come." For when we 
speak as I am now speaking, we seem to many to be 
opening the door to sin and shutting it against good 
works, unto the injury of salvation. We will therefore 
give to such this answer: — Good works are not only not 
prohibited, but are greatly commended by these words ; 
and sin, is by the most effectual discipline taken out of 
the way ; while they teach, that these good works are to 
proceed from within, and that sin is to be destroyed 
within. For it is that depraved affection, the head of the 
old serpent, which is so secretly and subtlety carnal, and 
which trusts in these works, and most obstinately resists 
that hope which rests in the mercy of God only, that is 


to be bruised, plucked out, and destroyed. And we are 
to understand, that even if our mind has not been spent 
well, we are not to despair ; and that, on the contrary, 
we are not therefore to hope, because it has been spent 
well : the former of which is very difficult to be put 
into practice, though the latter is much more difficult 
still: because, in the former, we fight only against sins; 
but in the latter, against good works and sins both ; that 
is, against that feeling of presumption which always ac- 
companies good works. 

And moreover, when I say that patience cannot 
have existence in prosperity, — do I therefore condemn 
possessions, power, peace, the happiness of life, &c. 
which are things without which we cannot live, and 
which are good creatures of the best of all beings ? By 
no means ! I only condemn the state of our minds 
under the enjoyment of them. And in the* same way, 
these things are elsewhere compelled to be called by a 
name descriptive of them; as in Ecclesiastes they are 
-called " vanity ; " and by Christ in the Gospel " thorns ; " 
•not from any evil that there is in the creatures them- 
selves, but from the vanity of men ; under which vanity, 
as the Apostle saith, Rom. viii. 20, * They groan being 
.made subject, not willingly, but by reason of him who 
hath subjected the same in hope.' 

And hence also these best works of the ungodly 
(which are themselves gifts of God, and by which others 
are often benefited while the ungodly themselves are 
destroyed by them) are called aven ; that is, iniquity, 
idolatry, and disobedience ; not on account of the evil 
in the works themselves, but on account of the evil and 
contagious depravity in those that perform them. And 
of these things Moses speaks thus, Deut. xxviii. 30, 
with the veil upon his face, " Thou shalt betroth a wife, 
ahd another shall lie with her : thou shalt build a house, 
and thou shalt not dwell therein : thou shalt plant a 
vineyard, and shall not gather the grapes thereof: n and 
many other things he says in the same verse : wherein 
he foretels the labours that such shall endure, but of 
which others shall reap the fruit: for what else does 


Moses here say, than that such do good works, but that 
those works only end in their own punishment, and the 
benefifof others ? 

By which things, this argument which many adduce 
by way of objection, is answered and done away with. — 
They ask, How a work done without grace can be sin ? 
such as, giving of alms, helping a needy person, and the 
like ? — As if Christ did not know, that to prophesy, to 
do wonderful things in his name, and to hear his Word, 
were good works ! And yet lie says, that he will con- 
demn all such works as iniquities, and will say to the 
performers of them, " Depart from me, ye that work 
iniquity/ 9 And so also, when a harlot is adorned with 
gold and jewels, it of necessity follows, that it is she that 
sins, and not the good creatures that she wears. There- 
fore, the ungodly may do good to profit others, but not 
to benefit themselves. For it is rather God that works 
by them in these works, who worketh all things in all. 

All these things are proved by this all-nrmly con- 
clusive argument, — According to the opinion of all, 
hope is a spiritual and powerful principle, which, in its 
acting, has God for its object, as we term it, (and God 
is goodness,) and that mercy which is promised unto us. 
Wherefore, if a person hope in any thing else but 
that promised mercy, (that i% in God,) he does not 
hope, but presumes, and misses hope altogether. The 
same also does he who hopes in God and his own 
merits together. Tor, as God cannot be loved • together 
with another, (as Augustine says,) for then he is not 
loved above all things ; so, neither can he be hoped in 
together with any other, because then he is not ho|>ed 
in above all things. These three things, therefore, are 
of a divine nature, — there is a divine object, a divine 
subject, and a divine agent : wherein are contained, the 
work, the manner, and the act. Here arc the bridegroom 
and the bride, and all the secrets of the marriage-bed — 
the bridegroom alone with the bride alone. All other 
works are carried on by the daughters of Jerusalem and 
by the companions — all others halt between two opi- 
nions, worshipping their Baal and God together ! 



Moreover, these things are farther proved by this. — 
' Hope acts upon things which are not seen : ' as does 
faith also : as the Apostle saith, Rom. viii. 24, " But 
hope that is seen is not hope : for what a man seeth 
why doth he yet hope for ? " And so, if a man believe in 
that which he seeth, why doth he yet believe ? And so 
also, if these men hope in, believe, and love what they 
see, what do they hope and believe in ? # In nothing, but 
a carnal bugbear,— in a something fair beneath God ; 
that is, not in a reality, but in a deceptive hobgoblin of 
appearance. Such hope in, see, hold, possess, and feel 
their own works, and in them they trust, but not in the 
invisible, untangible, incomprehensible promiser, who is 
heard, and who reveals himself in his Word only ! 
These things are too high, too difficult, too hard for our 
flesh, because they are the death of it. 

Hence, all those things which are said in the Song 
of Solomon concerning the bridegroom and the spouse, 
in a lascivious manner, as it were, and according to the 
ctrnal love of men ; and also all those things which are 
there represented as transacted between the male and 
female sex; — all these things have a signification di- 
rectly the contrary to those pleasures : for they represent 
the most perfect works of faith, hope, and love ; that is, 
they show such works to be as strong as death and 
hill : as it is there written, Song viii. 6, " For love is 
strong as death ; jealously is cruel as the grave." And 
again, ven 7, " Many waters cannot quench love, 
neither can the floods drown it. If a man would give 
all the substance of his house for love, it would be ut- 
terly contemned : " which things can by no means be 
understood concerning the flame of lust. 

Many men have vamped up and fabled forth many 
things about mystical, negative, proper, and symbolical 
theology ; " not knowing what they say, nor whereof 
they affirm;" for they know not what either negative or 
affirmative theology is, nor the relative nature of 
either. Nor can the commentaries of such men be read 
without peril : because such as the men are themselves, 
such are their writings; as they felt, so they spoke. 


They felt every thing the contrary to negative theology : 
that is, they never knew nor ever felt death and hell, 
nor loved such experience : and therefore, it is impossi- 
ble but that they should deceive themselves and their 

I wished to say these things by way of admonition, 
because the commentaries of Dionysius upon mystical 
theology are every where handed abroad both from 
Italy and from Germany : which are mere " opposi- 
tions of science/' vaunting and puffing off itself. Let no 
one therefore consider himself to be a theologian in 
mysteries because he has read, understood, and taught 
these things ; or rather, because he imagines that he lias 
understood and taught them. For a man becomes a 
theologian by living, or rather, by experience, death, 
and condemnation : not by mere understanding, read* 
ing, and speculation. 

And again, they may bring forward, by way of objec- 
tion to what I have said, that of Paul, Rom. v. 34, " Tri- 
bulation worketh patience, and patience probation, and 
probation hope: and hope maketh not ashamed." — 
' Here (say they) the Apostle seems to place hope 
among merits. 9 And thus, they will make the grekt 
master of all doctrines to give this definition of hope in 
unison with the opinions of the whole multitude of 
theologians : — ' That hope is a certain expectation of a 
reward springing out of merits/ For such have no other 
hope but that which proceeds from merit*. From which 
opinions, what else can follow, hut the ruin of all 
theology, and the ignorance and oblivion of Christ and 
his cross ! 

But what will such say when we bring hefore them 
their own confessions, — ' that faith, hope, and love are 
infused virtues, and the principles of all good things ? ' 
Hence they themselves declare that merits cannot take 
place before love. And tliey moreover constantly assert; 
"that hope and faith are infused together with love.* 
According to their own assertions, therefore, it is cer- 
tain, that ho|>e does not proceed from merits, but merits 
from hope. And yet, when they define hope, they con- 
it 2 


tfovert this assertion and contradict themselves, making 
hope to proceed from merits. 

And then, what will they say to the Apostle, when 
be makes patience to be the work of tribulation ? But 
who can endure any thing of tribulation without hope ? 
For the man that is in despair will never come to any 
patience, nor to any probation, nor to any glorying in 
tribulation, by tribulation, but, on the contrary, will 
only become worse and worse by it: as Christ teaches 
os in his discourse concerning the house built upon the 
sand, the fell of which was great when the winds blew 
and the floods came : and as we are also taught by his 
parable of the seed, which, when sown, fell upon a rock, 
and which soon sprung up, but was scorched up by the 
sun: which parables, represent those who in time of 
temptation fall away. Hence, there must be hope in the 
beginning of tribulation, in order to its working patience. 
But further; only reason upon this definition, — 
' Hope proceeds alone from merit : ' therefore, no 
sinner can ever hope but the righteous only ! If this ar- 
gument stand good, who will be converted to repent- 
ance ? And who will be righteous, if no sinner repent ? 
And how will any one repent, without hoping in the 
mercy of God ? — Are we then to say to a dying sinner, 
* Thou hope ! far be it from thee to attempt to hope. 
Thou hast no merits from which thou canst possibly de- 
rive any hope?' This would not be acting the theologian, 
but acting the devil. For the voice of the devil is 
always this — * Do not thou presume to hope, for thou 
hast no merits ! ' Whereas the point of death is the 
greatest, the most important, and the best place and cir- 
cumstance in which hope can act, and death itself is 
most especially adapted to work together for the exercise 
of hope. Such a definition of hope, therefore, is most 
false : and I would rather confess that I did not under- 
stand one word of the Apostle, than admit, that such a 
definition of hope could be drawn from him. 

I will, therefore, in my mad way (as they say of me) 
show how I understand these matters. — First of all, 
then, it is certain that grace, that is, faith, hope, and 


love, are not infused (or communicated) without sin 
being also infused (or felt) at the same time : that is, the 
sinner is not justified, unless he be first condemned ; he 
is not made alive, unless he be first killed ; he ascendeth 
not into heaven, unless he first descend into hell ; as the 
whole scripture plainly shows. Wherefore, the infusion 
of grace must of necessity be attended with bitterness, 
tribulation, and suffering; under which the old man 
groans, not being able to bear his casting out with any 
kind of patience. But if under this tribulation the man 
be patient, and wait Tor the hand of him that is working 
in him and infusing grace (or communicating) unto 
him, he is thereby proved, and he shall find hope, faith, 
and love, which, under such an experience are infused. 
And this takes place as often as things turn out contrary 
to our will, and the effects are the greater, the more 
contrary those things are. 

This, I say, is trie way in which grace is infused (or 
communicated,)' not only at first, but also at every after 
communication. For the old man is always the more 
and more expelled, as grace more and more enters in, 
even unto death : according to that of Revelations xxii. 
11, "He that is righteous let him be righteous still, and 
he that is holy let him be holy still." And that of John 
i. 16, " Grace for grace." And also according to that 
of Paul, Rom. i. 17, l The righteousness of God is re- 
vealed from faith to faith.' And again, 2 Cor. iii. 1 8, 
i We are changed from glory to glory.' And also, 
Psalm lxxxiv. 7, " They go from strength to strength." 
And in the same way we may rightly be said to go on 
from hope to hope. 

It is quite manifest, therefore, that the Apostle is 
not speaking so much of the hope itself which is obtained, 
as of the certain assurance of heart under that hoj>e ; 
while the man, after the tribulation and infusion or 
communication of hope (for under the tribulation he ap- 
pears to himself to have no hoj>e at all) feels that he 
hopes, believes, and loves : for he then tastes how sweet 
the Lord is ; and begins to hunger and thirst after more 
suffering, that the tribulation may work in him a greater 


degree of hope. — Hence, it is necessary that there be 
faith, hope, and love, in the beginning of every good 
work and suffering : but it is after the work and suffer- 
ing that the hope,' which lay hidden, is made manifest : and 
it is then that the persona are approved and manifested. 
In this way it was that Job and Abraham were tried, 
drat they might be made manifest and known to them- 
selves, and might be assured ' that they believed in, 
hoped in, and loved God. Hence it was said to 
Abraham, " Now know I that thou fearest God;" that 
is, now have I made thee to know, &c. ; as Augustine 
expounds it. For it is necessary, not only that a man 
believe, hope, and love; but also, that he be certain 
that he believes, hopes, and loves* The former takes 
place in the hidden circumstances of the storm ; the 
latter after the storm is over. Thus, Peter exhorts us to 
" give all deligence to make our calling and election 
sure." For it is one thing for a man to be, or to be 
made, good, and another for him to know that he is so 
made. Just in' the same way as a " bloody and deceit- 
ful man," when he is irritated, becomes manifest, and is 
found to be a bloody and deceitful man: whereas 
before, he seemed to others, and also to himself, to be 
of a very sweet disposition, and a simple character. 
And it is in the same manner also that the cross operates 
m those who endure it and are proved by it, even unto 
the end, until they arrive at solid hope : (that is, the 
hope begins, increases, and goes on, and makes the 
man's knowledge of the goodness of his state sure and 
Certain.) But in those who do not endure it, and are not 
proved by it, but found reprobate, — in such it works the 
most impotent despair from the very beginning. Hence 
Taulerus, a man of God, said, (as all who experience the 
same thing say also,) that God is never more pleasing, 
more lovely, nor more sweet to his children, than after 
their probation under tribulation. 

This is the hope that the Apostle says is wrought by 
M probation." And as children of the flesh love their na- 
tural father more sweetly after the correction of the rod 
by which they have been beaten ; so the bridegroom 


Christ visits his bride after his embraces with a pleasure 
which is contrary to the flesh : which embraces are 
themselves death and hell to the flesh. Herein does 
that great sacrament, " And they twain (Christ and the 
churcn) shall be one flesh/' rule and reign : which is in- 
deed a great sacrament* It is most hard to be borne in 
its operation, but it produces the sweetest fruits, bring- 
ing forth an offspring most like unto God, and works 
that are blameless. For it is thus that the vine is 
purged, that it may bring forth more fruit. — If, then, it 
be true of every degree of hope, that it is wrought by 
" probation," how much more is the Apostle to be under- 
stood as having spoken and thought in the same way 
also of perfect hope, which proceeds from many and 
different tribulations? 

Let us now then look farther into the words of the 
Apostle. — He calls hope the work of probation, proba- 
tion the work of patience, and patience the work of tri- 
bulation. — But that great master of doctrines says too 
much if he calls those ' merits ' from which hope pro- 
ceeds : at least, the persons who so understand him, do 
not comprehend what he means by those ' merits. 9 For, 
most certainly that active life in which many too rashly 
confide, and which they generally understand to be sig- 
nified by the term merits, does not produce or work 
merits, but presumption ; just as, knowledge puffeth up. 
Therefore, we must call in another kind of life to be un- 
derstood as here signifying merits : namely, that passive 
life which mortifies and destroys all this active life, so 
that nothing of the merits of the latter remain in which 
the proud person may glory. And where this takes place, 
if the man persevere, there is hope wrought in him ; that 
is, he learns, that there is nothing in which he can 
rejoice, hope, or glory, but God. For tribulation, as it 
takes away all things from us, leaves nothing but God 
only : it cannot take away God, but rather brings him 
nearer unto us. And if, when all our own things are 
taken away, even our works and our merits, — if, I say, 
we here endure and stand, we find God, in whom alone 
we trust : and thus, " we are saved by ho|>c." 


Wherefore, though those holy work-mongers say 
they trust in God with all their confidence, yet, when 
their active life (which is all their dependance) begins 
la be tried, either with contempt in the sight of men, 
or with trouble of conscience before God, they all 
give way. and fall ; and thereby show, that they trusted 
more in their own life, than they hoped in the mercy of 
God. There is no active life which can suffice before 
God, nay, nor which can so suffice before men as to be 
satisfactorily pleasing to all unto the end. Hence David 
saith, Psalm cxlv. 8, " Enter not into judgment with 
thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man living be jus- 
tified." It is the passive life only that is most pure ; and 
therefore, it is only that which works hope and glory. 
And in this matter, we ought to be conformed to the 
example of Christ our King and Captain, who began 
indeed with the active life, but finished with suffering ; 
all his works, though so great, so many, and so wonder- 
ful, being so accounted nought, (that is, in the sight of 
men, as our own works should be in our own sight,) 
thttt he was not only numbered by men among' the 
wicked, but was thought to be deserted of God. 

All things, therefore, are to be so taken from us, 
that not even the best gifts of God, that is, the merits 
above-mentioned themselves, shall be left, in which we 
may trust : so that there may be an all-pure hope in an 
all-pure God: and then, the man is truly pure and 
hQly. This matter is attended with various tribulations, 
and with many pains : but the greatest pains are, when 
we begin to approach towards the perfection of hope : 
that is, to the being stripped of all our good works, and 
of our trust in our good life. For in the loss of all other 
things, such as property, health, and honour, it is not 
so much hope that is exercised, as it is patience that is 
contending against impatience and the natural man; 
under which, the man is so exercised and instructed, that 
he learns patiently to despise his present troubles, as being 
those which he will never have to endure again. But in 
these storms of conscience, and in these ruins of merits, 
hope itself fights against desperation, and oftentimes 


against itself; nay, even against God; whom hope 
feels to be angry with her, because she has no merits 
whatever ; ana though she cannot endure being with- 
out these merits, yet she is forced to be without 
them ; which so miserably crucifies the spirit of the 
man, that it makes him almost able, like Christ, to tell 
all his bones. 

So that, any one may rightly call hope, spiritual 
patience, or patience in enduring accusations : as, on 
the contrary, patience may be called spiritual hope, or 
hope in enduring punishments. For what is it to be 
tried and tempted in the conscience, and with despair, 
but to feel that our sins are unpardonable, that God 
will not be merciful to us, and that all our works are 
nought? And yet, if the man persevere and hope 
against hope, he shall be found proved and approved : 
and being by this tribulation stripped of all his merits, 
he shall be furnished with hope, and be crowned with an 
incorruptible crown that shall not fade for ever and 
ever. For God is not really angry, nor is it his will to 
refuse pardon to such an one's sins, he only tries him, to 
see whether he will hope in his mercy, rather than in his 
own works. 

Whereas, our self-justifiers who arc filled and 
crammed with the merits of their active life, dread 
nothing so much as having this cross laid upon their 
merits; being deceived in the words of our great Apostle, 
where he says, that hope proceeds from merits ; which 
they understood to be good works. But the Apostle 
calls them " tribulations : " thai is, mortifications and 
crucifixions of the flesh. — Behold, therefore, how far 
we are gone away from the true knowledge of ho|>e, by 
misunderstanding one word of the A|>ostle; and this 
error has produced an infinite number of conscience- 
murders, and perhaps eternal damnation*. For while 
such have tried to find hope and peace by works, tribu- 
lation either of conscience or of body, (which are the 
true workers of hope,) opposed them in their attempt; 
and they, not knowing what that tribulation uas, and 
rejecting it, did not find the hope and peace they wanted, 


and therefore despaired. And no wonder; for they 
sought hope in that way which leads to presumption ; 
-and being hindered, or, as Hosea saith, chap. ii. 6, 
finding ' their way hedged up with thorns/ and not un- 
derstanding this hinderance, they fell away. 

Hence it is that we have, at this day, that multitude 
of poor, weak, fearful, and scrupulous consciences, who 
are unstable in all their ways. — Thou art not, poor soul, 
*thus tried with despair or wringings of conscience, that 
thou shouldst be driven *-to -run :to a trusting in thy 
works, but on the contrary, that thou mayest be called 
off from those works. This is a most spiritual conflict, 
'though it be most bitter, and it is between thee alone 
and God alone : where hope alone can support thee, by 
waiting and expecting, committing its whole cause unto 
God, and overcoming God against God : as Jacob did, 
-Gen. xxxii. 24, &c. : where it is recorded of him, that 
he, being alone, wrestled with God and prevailed against 
him, ana therefore received the blessing from him in 
that same place: but the name of him who blessed 
him it was not lawful to know : so he called the name 
of the place Penuel, saying, " For I have seen God 
face to fdce, and my soul is preserved." — And if any one 
be permitted to go on prosperously in the way of pre- 
sumption, and to increase in his works, without this 
temptation, what will he come to ? Perhaps he will not 
run into despair, but despair will come into him ; be- 
cause he knoweth not God, nor has learnt how wonder- 
ful he is in these his counsels and workings. 

And now we shall be enabled to see the contents 
and weight of that famous saying of Cicero, which is so 
much admired, ' The consciousness of a well-spent life, 
is a most sweet reflection.' — True ! But, the more 
sweet such a reflection is, the more destructive. This 
sentiment does not at all savour of the Christian : for, to 
a Christian, the consciousness of a life that has well suf- 
fered, (that is, which has been reduced to nothing,) is 
most sweet : for, " He that glorieth let him glory in the 
Lord." Job did not speak like Cicero : for though he 
said, chap, xxvii. 6, " My heart shall not reproach me 


so lone as I live/' yet, he did not dare to glory, but 
prayed that God would not enter into judgment with 
him. Nor did Paul speak like him, when he said, 
1 Cor. iv. " For I am conscious of nothing to myself 
(c/AavrS wojfo) ; yet am I not hereby justified." Nor 
Jeremiah ix. 23, 34, " Let not the wise man glory 
in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his 
might, let not the rich man glory in his riches. But let 
him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandcth 
and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which exercise 
lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the 
earth : for in these things I delight, saith the Lord." 

Therefore, we are not to believe in, hope in, cleave 
to, or glory in, any gifts of God, lest we should commit 
fornication with them, (as it is often said in the 
prophets,) but in God himself the giver, and in him only. 
And this is what is meant Psalm cxvi. 11, "I said in 
my excess, All men are liars." Now this " excess " was 
tribulation ; by which we are instructed to know how 
vain and lying every man is who hopes not in God only. 
For man is man until he is made like unto God, who 
alone is true ; by partaking of whose truth, man be- 
comes true also ; which he does, by cleaving unto God 
in true faith and hope, being reduced to nothing in 
himself. For to what can the man come, who hof>es in 
God, but to nothing in himself? And where can the 
man go to, who is brought to nothing, but unto him 
from whom he came? He came from God, and from 
nothing: and therefore, he who returns to nothing, 
returns unto God. He that falls out of himself, and of 
all creatures, cannot full out of the hand of God ulso: 
for the hand of God upholds all things: he holdctli (as 
Isaiah saith) the world in his hand. If, therefore, thou 
fall through the whole world, where canst thou full but 
into the hand and bosom of God? Thus, the souls of 
the righteous are in the hand of God, traausc their 
safety is out of the world. Thry seem in the eyes of the 
foolish to fall utterly and perish, in the same manner as 
they see a stone go through the air or the water: but the 
stone, remember, does not fall through the earth alx) ! 



* But, as to those workmen and self-justifiers, who, 
being deluded by their own opinions, seek only, by all 
their works and righteousnesses, to increase and be- 
come fat and great, and who by no means wish to come 
to this nothing, but to become something great; — to 
what think ye such will come ? Why, they too will be 
made to fall back into their nothing : not, however, to 
be brought into the hand of God, but to fall utterly and 
perish everlastingly. 

' But I know very well, how many things are brought 
forward out of the Holy Scriptures, and out of the say- 
ings of the fathers and the lives of the saints, in opposi- 
tion to these things. But I also well know, how peril- 
ously all those things are understood, if they be not 
brought down to the rule and standard now before us ; 
for they all make to this same point. I will, however, 
for example's sake, produce one of these. — We read, 
upon the authority of Hieronymus, that Hilary said to 
his soul, while he was fearing to die, ' Leave this body, 
O my soul ; what fearest thou ? Thou hast now served 
Christ for these ninety-three years ; and dost thou fear 
to die ? 9 — If, therefore, he be understood to have spoken 
as the words imply, that is, if he thus trusted in the 
works of his life; we must conclude, that he went 
to hell, and not to heaven. 

But why do they not look into those far different 
words of St. Agathon ? who, when he had been looking 
up to heaven with steady and unaltered eyes for three 
days together, and was asked by his disciples, why he 
feared, and why he did not trust in his well-spent life, 
answered, ' I do fear in reality. I know, indeed, that I 
have kept the commandments of God, as well as I 
could : but the judgment of God and the judgment of 
v men are very different from each other/ But however, 
the fear of Hilary proves the same thing. For if he had 
found his works sufficient, he would not have been 
filled with fear. He was forced, therefore, to seek some 
other anchor for his confidence and trust, and to set 
before himself the mercy of God, from the remembrance 
of his past benefits and mercies toward him. For it is 


no slow motive to, and excitement of, hope, to call to 
mind the past or present benefits of God which have 
been bestowed, or are now bestowed, upon us : nay it is 
a ray of the countenance of God shining upon us, anil a 
good sign in our favour, and very encouraging to faith 
and hope. Thus, the children of Israel were commanded 
to remember the works of the Lord, and his bringing 
them out of Egypt; that their mouths being thus 
stopped and filled with the praise of God, they might 
not perish ; as Isaiah saith. 

But you will ask, perhaps, Are there then no merits 
at all? Why are we enjoined by so many precepts both 
of Christ and his apostles to do good works, to sow our 
seed, to build gold, silver, jewels, &c. ? — I answer : this 
is what I said before ; that most men arc deceived by 
misunderstanding good works. Good works are cer- 
tainly to be done, and the tree of the spirit ought to 
bring forth those fruits which are described Gal. v. 22, 
93. But men do not understand those words of Christ, 
John xii. 24, " Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a 
corn of wheat fell into the ground and die, it abidetli 
alone : but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit/' And 
those words John xv. 2, " Ever}- branch in mc that 
beareth fruit, he purgeth it that it may bring forth more 
fruit." For this mortification and purgation (which 
take place by the infusion of faith, hope, and love,) 
strips a man of all his own works, that he may learn to 
trust in God only, and to do good works ; not that they 
may be merits to him, for which he may seek and exj>ert 
his reward; but he docs them gratuitously, with a 
free mind, and with a mind ready and willing to please 
God; not trusting at all in them himself, but doing 
them to promote the glory of God : as Christ saith 
Matt. v. 16, " Let your light so shine before men, that 
they may see your good works, and glorify your Father 
which is in heaven." — They who do good works in this 
way, do them not for themselves, but for God, as instru- 
ments to his glory. They arrogate nothing to themselves 
in doing them, being satisfied with God only in whom 
they hope. And those who do not their works in this 


way, and for these ends, are only apes of the true 

Hence it of necessity follows, that the life of all 
saints is a superstition, unless they have learnt thus to 
glorify their heavenly Father by their works. Rightly is 
it said, therefore, Psalm xxv. 10, <l AH the paths of 
the Lord are mercy and truth : " that is, then are truly 
good works done, when God alone only and totally 
does them in and by us, so that no part of the work 
.whatever pertains unto us. — Wherefore, let this be thy 
standard rule. Wherever the Holy Scriptures command 
good works to be done, do thou understand it thus ; — 
mat it forbids thee to do any good work of thyself, be- 
cause thou canst not do it ; but to keep an holy Sabbath 
unto God ; that is, a rest from all thy works ; and that 
thou become dead and buried, and permit God to work 
in thee. And unto this thou wilt never attain, but by 
faith, hope, and love : that is, by a total mortification 
of thyself and all thy own works. 

Therefore, there are merits, and yet no merits, in us. 
There are merits, because the gifts of God and his own 
works, are merits. And yet, there are no merits, 
because we cannot any more presume upon them, than 
any sinner can who knows nothing at all about them, 
and in whom God has not yet wrought any thing. 
Thus, we all are, all have been, and shall all ever 
remain, upon an equal footing before Cod ; so that the 
glorying of one over another must for ever perish : ac- 
cording to that of 1 Cor. iv. 7, " For who maketh thee 
to differ from another ? and what hast thou that thou 
didst not receive ? now if thou didst receive it, why dost 
thou glory as if thou hadst not received it ? " Mark the 
words ! He who is puffed up with, and boasts of, the 
giftfc of God, does the same as if he were to say that he 
had received nothing ! Where then is difference to be 
found ? No where. As the Apostle here saith, " Who 
maketh thee to differ ? " Who has declared that thou 
art better than others? As if he had answered, No one. 

From all these things, then, weigh and consider the 
all-equal judgment and justice of God, and how he 


would have held up to contempt all that external bug- 
bear and outward show of life and works. Because in 
his eyes, the just and the unjust are alike as to the merits 
of their works. For he has ordained this law for all that 
live in this mortal life : — that they should be made to 
know, that, as the righteous have no cause or ground 
for presuming,, so, sinners have no cause or ground for 
despairing. And he has given to each the same law for 
their hoping in him : which law alone it is that makes 
the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, 
and between those that despair in themselves, and those 
that presume. Hence Psalm cxix. 75, David sings 
rightly, " I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, 
and that thou in truth hast afflicted me/ 9 Behold, before 
the face of the truth of God, David is nothing ; and in 
the judgment of a just and righteous God, he is as the 
greatest novice, the greatest sinner of all sinners. And 
this is the end of the law of faith, hope, and love, — to 
make. us all the greatest, and least instructed, of all sin- 
ners ; that is, to make us all equal ; and yet, to work 
thereby the most unequal and the most strange things. 
Truly God is wonderful in his saints ! 

We are all therefore, by the commandment of God, 
enjoined to hope in him ; and are by the same com- 
mandment, deterred from despair and presumption ; and 
thus, truly, God is in all things, and in all, equal and the 
same; and yet, he is most unequal and most different 
For he is a God, who is simple in multiplicity, and mul- 
tiplex in simplicity ; equal in inequality, and unequal in 
equality; low in loftiness, deep in height, and far in 
nearness; and their contraries. And so also, he is 
powerful in the weak, weak in the powerful, wise in fools, 
and foolish in the wise ; and, in a word, he is all in all 
things. But I wish to say these things apart from the 
pious ears of those who are offended at the truth ; which, 
by all their unhappy reasonings and questionings, they 
could never learn. 

But perhaps the weak and infirm conscience may 
yet say, — ' But suppose I cannot believe; and thus find 
my despair to be unsurmountable ? ' I will answer : 


Thou art not even then to despair, when thou thus feelest 
thyself to despair. For that is not despair, when thou 
desirest not to despair, and grievest that thou dost de- 
„ spair, it is only the trial and temptation of hope : though 
that is certainly by far the most heavy of all temptations : 
because it involves in its sensations the greatest and 
eternal hatred of God, blasphemies, curses, and all the 
evils of hell, which we dare not openly mention ; in a 
word, it awfully involves the ever-blessed and glorious 

What, therefore, shalt thou do in this case ? Why, 
first, acknowledge that thou deservest all this, and that 
it is due unto thy sin3. And herein thou art to be wise ; 
thou art to praise and give thanks unto God ; and thou 
art to endure this infirmity and temptation ; according 
to that of Eceles. x. 4, " If the spirit of him that hath 
power rise up against thee, leave not thy place: for 
yielding pacifieth great offences." Hence what thou 
hast to take care of is this, — that thou do all in thy power 
not to yield to this hatred, blasphemy, and desperation ; 
but that thou cry unto God, if it be but in one single 
sigh, or groan ; and that thou assure thyself, that, accor- 
ding to Isaiah xlii. 3, " He will not break the bruised 
reed, nor quench the smoking flax." 

And I will say one thing more in my free and bold 
way. — There are none nearer to God in this life than 
these kind of haters and blasphemers of him, nor any 
sons more pleasing to him and beloved by him ! And 
thou mayest in this state make more satisfaction for sin 
in one moment, than ever thou couldst do by repenting 
for many years together under a diet of bread and water. 
Hence it is true, that, in death, (where this temptation 
prevails most,) a Christian may in one moment get rid 
and shot of all his sins, if he do but act wisely under the 
temptation. — It is in this state that those " groanings 
that cannot be uttered" are exercised, and prevail. Rom. 
viii. 26. 

And next, mind this throughout thy whole life : — 
that thou pray for hope : but so, that thou refuse not the 
will of God in this thy infirmity, but that thou endure it 


even unto death : saying with thy Lord and Master, 
" My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death." 
And so pray as not to doubt that hope will be given 
thee of God. For he who willed that thou shouldst 
pray ; yea rather, he who taught thee to pray thus with- 
out any of thine own seeking after it; — he willed thee 
thus to pray, because he had purposed in himself to 
hear thee. Therefore, bear all delays with patience, but 
doubt not that thou shalt receive: that which "will 
come, shall come, and will not tarry : " and do thou in 
the mean time hope against hope. 

Now there are two things to be observed in hope — 
our own merits, and the promise of God. And in the 
midst of these matters, thou art thus to understand ho|>e. 
Thou art to know, that hope depends on the promise of 
God, and that merits proceed from hope : so that, merits 
are not the rich foundation of hope, but hope is the 
work of the Word or promise of God. Wherefore, 
merits are not necessary unto a man's hoping. Thou art 
rather to look with the purest simplicity at the Word of 
the free promise : by hoping in which, thou mayest af- 
terwards bring forth merits. Thus the apostle Paul, in 
his Epistle to the Galatians, does nothing else but prove 
that our righteousness does not proceed from the law, 
nor of works, but from the promise and blessing of God. 
For the mercy of a freely-promising God, and his 
truth which fulfils that promise, are the true causes of 
hope : by these the mind is encouraged and drawn out 
to hope, to call upon God, and to live well : for if these 
things did not exist, or were not revealed unto us, there 
would be neither faith nor hope to be found. 

Wherefore, the object of faith and of hope is a freely- 
promising God, or the Word itself of God promising, 
and nothing else. And if this Word be not observed al- 
ways and every where, hope must of necessity fall ; just 
as the house which is built upon the sand must fall 
when the floods and winds beat upon it. For upon this 
rock of the sure promise and infallible Word of God, is 
the church of Christ built : as it is written, Prov. xviii. 
10, " The name of the Lord is a strong tower : the 

VOL. III. s 


righteous runneth Into it, and is safe : " and also Psalm 
lxi. 3, " For thou hast been a shelter for me and a strong 
tower from the enemy." There is nothing here about 
merits ; all that is gaid, is about God himself and his 
name, in which alone the man is to place his hope. 

It follows, therefore, that hope does not proceed 
from merits, but, on the contrary, merits proceed from 
hope. Or, hope goes on from hope to hope : and so, it 
is before all merits, and goes on with merits, after merits. 
Even as, in this life, we do not lay hold of righteousness, 
but are always stretching forth after it ana seeking it, 
always seeking to be justified, always seeking to have 
our sins forgiven, always seeking that the will of our 
Father which is in heaven may be done, and always de- 
siring that his name may be sanctified. And yet in this 
very state, we are accounted righteous before God : as 
he saith Matt/v. 6, " Blessed are they which do hunger 
and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." 
So that, hope may rightly be understood as increasing 
from itself while tribulations work it, if they be but so 
endured as that we be but found proved by them. 

From which things this seems to follow, — that other 
virtues may be perfected by doing ; but faith, hope, and 
love, only by suffering ; by suffering, I say ; that is, by 
being passive under the divine operation. Because, the 
works of the other virtues are the fruits of faith, hope, 
and love : (for who can expect to see incarnate faith, 
incarnate hope, and incarnate love ?) In a word, all the 
other virtues are exercised only in the grosser works. 
And here, the spouse of Christ again defiles her feet 
which she gloried in having washed ; again puts on the 
garment of which she gloried in having been stripped ; 
because, those things which are done by the flesh, can- 
not be done without sin and pollution. But the works of 
faith, hope, and love, appear to be the same. For what 
is faith, but that motion of the heart which is called be- 
lieving? What is hope, but that motion of the heart 
which is called hoping? And what is love, but that 
motion of the heart which is called loving ? For all those 
phantasms are mere human, — the habit is one thing 


and the act another. Especially in these divine matters, 
in which there is nothing but a passive suffering or being 
acted upon, a being moved, a being carried along by the 
Spirit; whereby the soul is moved, formed, cleansed, 
and impregnated by the Word of God. So that, the 
business of these virtues is nothing else but a purging of 
the vine-branch, as Christ saith, that, being purged, it 
may brine; forth more fruit 

Finally, other virtues are employed about grosser 
things, and things outwardly carnal ; but these inwardly, 
about the pure Word of God; whereby the soul is 
taken hold of, and does not take hold of any thing itself: 
that is, it is stripped of its own garments, of its shoes, 
of all its possessions, and of all its imaginations, and is 
taken away by the Word (to which it cleaves, or rather 
which lays hold of it, and leads it in a wonderful way) 
into the wilderness, (as Hosea saith, chap. ii. 14;) to 
invisible things, into the vineyard, and into the marriage 
chamber. But this leading, this taking her away, and 
this stripping of her, miserably tortures tier. For it is a 
hard path to walk in, and a strait and narrow way, to 
leave all visible things, to be stripped of all natural 
senses and ideas, and to be led out of all those things to 
which we have been accustomed ; this, indeed, is to die ; 
and to descend into hell, For the soul seems unto her- 
self to perish utterly, when all those things in which she 
stood and was employed, and to which she cleaved, are 
destroyed, and when she herself can neither touch earth 
nor heaven, nor feel herself nor God ; and saith, ' Tell 
my beloved that I am sick of love,' Song v. 8. As if 
she had said, I am brought to nothing, and I know no- 
thing ; I am come into blackness and darkness ; I can 
see nothing; I live and am made strong by faith, 
hope, and love only ; (that is, I am wholly passive ;) for 
when I am weak then am I strong. This leading or 
being led, is what the mystical theologians call ' going 
into darkness/ and 'ascending above entity and non- 
entity/ But I much question whether such understand 
themselves : for they make all these things to be elicited 
<rcte,and do not believe them to be the sufferings and feel- 

s 2 


ing sensations of the cross, death, and hell. But the 
theology of the cross only is our theology ! 

From these things I think we may clearly understand 
the word of the Apostle, where he makes hope to be 
the work of patience, proved by tribulations : showing, 
that the maa is by all these tribulations, polished, refined, 
and beaten out as. it were, like a vessel from the hand of 
the artificer ; so that he shines forth far beyond all visible 
and comprehensible things^ being taught to trust, not in 
merits, but in God only. So a golden vessel wrought 
out with file and hammer, is not formed for showing the 
colour of it only, nor yet for displaying the workmanship, 
but is made a vessel that it may be of some service. 
Nor is it polished, that it might be made gold, but it is 
formed into a vessel that its owner might use it. So man 
is formed by hope for the use of God. But the works 
themselves do not produce this hope : for this would be 
to make that first which is last Wherefore, that figura- 
tive language of the Scripture which describes this 
purging and operation of hope to be a workmanship, or a 
vessel sent forth from the hand of the Word, pleases us 
well ; as we have it Prov. xxv. 4, 5, li Take away the 
dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel 
for the finer. Take away the wicked from before the 
King, and his throne shall be established in righteous- 
ness." And thus that golden calf, Exod. xxxii., is said 
by the same figure to have been sent forth out of the 
hand of the workmen ; that is, formed and fashioned by 
them. Hence it is, that we have this scripture, Psalm 
cxxi. 8, " The Lord shall preserve thy going out, and 
thy coming in, from this time forth and for evermore ; " 
that is, the beginning and the end of all thy tempta- 
tions ; (a$ Augustine says, in his observations upon that 

It is an error, therefore, to hold, that Free-will has 
any hand in a good work : for when we say, a good 
work, we speak of the internal work : and the will in 
such a work (as we have said of believing, hoping, and 
loving,) is a moving, a carrying along, and a leading, 
wrought by the Word of God, and a continual purging and 


renewing of the mind and understanding, day by day, in 
the knowledge of God : and though that passive recep- 
tion of the teaching of God is not always the same in 
degree and extent, yet, it is a being continually taught 
while lying passive in the hand of God. " Behold (says 
the Lord by Jeremiah, xviii. 6,) as the clay is in the 
potter's hand 9 so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel/' 
What power of action has clay, I ask you, while it lies 
in the potter's hand, and he is forming it into shaj>e ? Is 
it not seen to be wholly passive ? And yet, by this its 
passive and shapeless state, it is rendered tit to be 
moulded into the form that shall please tlie potter. — 
And, in the same manner, we, by growing ho|>e, while 
tribulation worketh for that end, are conformed to the 
divine likeness, and are renewed after the image of him 
that created us; as Paul saith Col. iii. 10. But the in- 
carnate will, or that which is connected with the external 
act, may rightly be said to co-oj>erate and to have, in 
that sense, an activeness. Just in the same way as- the 
sword can do nothing whatever by any power to move 
that it has in itself, but is merely passive : but in giving 
the wound, it co-operates with the person who cuts l>y 
its means. Wherefore, as the sword does not at all co- 
operate, as to the putting of itself in motion ; so, neither 
does the will co-operate in the putting of itself in mo- 
tion to do good : for that is a moving wrought by the Word 
of God, wliere the will is merely passive : which, never- 
theless, when put in motion co-operates to perform the 
work of the hands, in praying, in walking, in labour- 
ing, &c. 

But I have now digressed, perhaps, MHuewhut too 
tar, I will therefore return to the Psalm. 

And let all those that hope in thee reprice ; they shall 
shout for joy for ever. 

Let us here first look at tlie force of the words, and 
then at the occasion on which, or the reason why, the 
prophet spoke thus. Only " those that hope*' are to 
rejoice: and who these that hope are, we have already 


fully shown. And they shall hope "in thee;" not in 
any thing of their own, nor in any creature; for there 
are some that trust in man. 

And we are also to remark, that the word olam is 
of very frequent use in the scriptures, and has been 
rendered, l for ever,' € always,' ' for ever and ever/ and in 
many other ways bearing the like signification. In the 
Hebrew, by a manner of speech peculiar to the language, 
it signifies a time of an uncertain and indefinite duration ; 
at least, it does not always signify ' eternity.' Hence, in 
the Law of Moses, it is often said, 'A certain rite, 
&c. shall be observed by your generations for ever; ' 
whereas, it is certain, that all those cities, &c. were at 
some time to have an end. And therefore, the word 
appears to me, not to be translated improperly by the 
Latin words semper, perenniter, and perpetuo. 

But what was it that moved the prophet to set forth 
these feelings so copiously and fully? Doubtless, it was 
the conversation of the wicked whom he saw to " spend 
their days in wealth," (as Job saith xxi. 1 3,) and so to 
live, as if it were their peculiar privilege to rejoice, exult, 
and glory : which was an offence so deceitful, and had 
such an effect upon the saints, that many prophets com- 
plained of this as their greatest temptation, and were 
moved with murmuring and revenge. For as the state 
of such persons is an offence unto the saints, from the 
appearance of works and temporal merits ; so it is also 
from the appearance of temporal rewards which it carries 
with it. Hence Asaph saith, Psalm lxxiii. 1 — 6, " How 
good is the God of Israel to those that are upright in 
heart! But as for me, my feet were almost gone: my 
steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the 
foolish when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For 
there are no bands in their death, but their strength is 
firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are 
they plagued like other men. Therefore pride com- 
passeth them about as a chain." And Jeremiah xii. 1, 
" Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper ? 
wherefore are all they happy that deal very prosper- 


oosly ? " Andanin mote folly, Job xxi. 7, &c. "Where- 
faro do the wined fere, become old, yea, are mighty in 

The prophet! therefore, in order to fortify the godly 
against being deceived by these external appearances 
•id oflfeoces, calls them aside, and exhorts them to 
despise the rejoicinp of such as these^ 
sebesto true rejoicing, which is, rejoicing in God. 
Wherefore, we are through the whole of this verse to 
observe a twofold antithesis, as it were, in tins way.*— 
We appear to such men as these to be miserable, be- 
came we from tribulation, and are deprived of all those 
temp o ral things fat which they abound and rejoice. 
And thro, then is in offence given to both these cha- 
racters* by that which they behold externally; and that 
ontward appearance deceives very many. Bat inwardly, 
when we live by hope, they die. Th$re, we rejoice and 
shall rekice for ever; but there they neither can, nor 
will rejoice, (if they die aa they now live). And 

joy is so real and solid, that we are the only per- 
of whom it can be truly said, ' they shall reyoioa ; ' 

ms, their joy is more a sorrow tmn a joy, if yon 
look within thin. 

Therefore, he condemns the joy of the nicked al- 
together, and commends the joy of the godly. And, as 
the joy of the latter is without any outward show, and 
that of the former with a great deal of such outward 
show, there is need of faith to understand the words of 
the Spirit, which are spoken in the Spirit; otherwise, thou 
wilt not understand mem, and wilt be offended with the 
appearances of these characters. For the carnal man 
cannot savour the things of God : that is, they cannot 
understand how a man can rejoice under the privation 
of all enjoyments, even spiritual : because he knows not 
that there can be any joy but in present things sensibly 
enjoyed: whereas, our glorying and rejoicing, are in the 
cross of our Lord. 

But as the Hebrews have no optative mood, and 
therefore use the future of the indicative in its stead ; 
ad as we have seen from the preceding observations 


that these words and feelings of this Psalm are full of 
burning zeal ; it is just to understand this verse as spoken 
under a feeling of holy indignation, and having such a 
meaning as this— Why do these ungodly ones rage thus? 
Why do they delude the souls of men by a fallacious 
and destructive external appearance ? Condemn, O Lord, 
I pray thee, their joy, and expel them ; make their hypo- 
crisy manifest, and let them fall from their deceitful 
appearances, that those only may rejoice who hope in 
thee; that it may be made manifest, and that all may 
'know, that there is no joy any where but in the mul- 
titude of thy mercies. I burn and am grieved, O Lord, 
that I cannot persuade them to these things, for they 
will not heat them. Do thou, therefore, judge them, 
and make manifest their vanity, and our truth. 

Here, then, we have it told us, where, and what true 
joy is: namely, a good confidence, and a conscience 
resting in the mercy of God. For they that have had 
experience in these things, say, ' that there is no joy 
above that of a pure conscience, nor any sorrow greater 
than that of a guilty and troubled .conscience : as the 
wise man saith, " He that is of a merry heart hath a 
continual feast," Prov. xv. 15. And again, Psalm xxvi. 
3, " For thy iovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I 
have walked in thy truth." And a pure and joyful con- 
science comes in no other way than by looking stead- 
fastly to the mercy of God; as it is said Psalm iv. 6, 7, 
" Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon ua: 
thou hast put gladness in my heart." But what is the 
joy of the characters before mentioned? — a plenty of 
corn, wine, and oil ! that is, the joy of swine, consisting 
in the surfeit of the body. 

They shall shout for joy for ever. 

This verb Hieronymus has translated, not impro- 
perly, ' shall praise : ' for some will have it, that vocal 
joy is here signified ; either that of singing, or that of 
speaking: just in the same way as, when we are joyful, 
we are accustomed to talk pleasantly, or even to sing, 
and to talk much of, praise, and boast of, him in whom 


we rejoice: as in Psalm xxxv. 28, "And my tongue 
shall speak of thy righteousness, and of thy praise all 
the day long," (that is, shall proclaim it with joy.) Whe- 
ther, therefore, the words " for ever " refer to " rejoice," 
or to, " shall shout for joy," the prophet still goes on in 
the same zeal and holy jealousy : as if he had said, Let 
them talk largely of their good things, let them boast of 
themselves and theirs, let them sing of themselves : they 
not only do not truly exult and rejoice, but will not even 
rejoice as they now do, for ever. "The joy of the 
hypocrite (as Job saith xx. 5,) is but for a moment. 9 ' 
And as he says again, xxi. 13, " They spend their days in 
wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave." So 
uncertain and unstable is their boasting; and even that 
does not last long, but is disturbed by many calamities 
and sorrows. And even if all should go on well and 
prosperously, yet their joy ends in sorrow at last, and 
their folly shall be made manifest to all, as was that of 
Jannes and Jambres, 2 Tim. iii. 8. Why, therefore, 
do they thus miserably deceive and destroy themselves? 
But all they that hope in thee shall rejoice and shall 
shout for joy for ever, and no stranger intcrmeddleth 
with their joy: (as the wise man saith.) 

Here, therefore, we see the fruits, from which we 
may know, whether we are under grace or not : for as 
Paul saith, Gal. v. 22, " The fruits of the Spirit are 
love, joy, &c.:" and we cannot say that , we do not 
know whether or not we have these fruits: for if our joy 
be continual and stable, and our praises of God perse- 
vering, even under sufferings and afflictions, it cannot 
be a deceiving sign: for, •■ by their fruits ye shall know 
them." The cross proves all things: wherefore, if thou 
canst say with Psalm xviii. 3, " I will call upon the 
Lord; so shall I be saved," thou shalt indeed be saved: 
for this cross and calling upon God under affliction the 
joy of the wicked cannot endure ; and therefore, they 
neither call upon God continually, nor is their joy stable. 

The other fruit that follows is to talk of, to sj>cak 
freely of, to proclaim joyfully, and to hear the Word of 
Christ, to extol his righteousness, to sing of his mercy; 


bat to detest ungodly fables, calumnies, obscenities, and 
such like dregs of the world. And can we no? feel and 
know these things for -ourselves? especially if we are 
tempted, tried, and opposed on account of these things, 
and suffer, because of them, envy, reproach, terrors and 
other evils? .This therefore, will be by no means a fal- 
lacious sign of Christ living in thee, if thou persevere in 
thus praising, rejoicing, and proclaiming the grace of 
God in the face of, and in opposition to the pride 
of men. 

It is not in vain, therefore, that David has added 
* continually,' or " for ever," (in aternum), to the word 
"shall shout for joy." because, when this joy of the 
Spirit breaks forth, it is sure to raise up against it the 
adversaries of the truth, as we see it happened to the 
apostles, Acts ii. 3, 4, 5, &c; and because, many are to 
be found who praise Christ, and the mercy, truth, righte- 
ousness, and grace of God, but do it not continually, 
because they do not truly hope, and truly rejoice in 
God ; for they fell away in time of temptation, and do 
not persevere in the face of iniquity, nor at all times nor 
in all things, nor do they dare at all times to glory in 
God; that is, in the grace of God. There are many of 
this sort, in the present day, who only speak the truth 
before those of the commonalty who will bear all things ; 
and never before those whom they fear, and have any 
reason to believe will become their persecutors; whereas 
it is before the latter that it is more especially to be 
spoken. And if thou here reply, — But such are rulers 
of the people, and they will put us out of the synagogue, 
will excommunicate us, and will cast us out of the city, — 
hear what follows, 

And thou shalt dwell in them. 

Which Hieronymus renders, * And thou shalt pro- 
tect then).' And who shall prevail against us when God 
himself is our protector? If it were not so hard and 
difficult a matter to rejoice in, and proclaim the mercy 
of God against the workers of iniquity, and the speakers 
of lies, there would be no need that such an exhortative 


promise rfbould be made to us. David himself knew 
that the grtee of hell would rise dp against oar joy, and 
therefore he savs, Bat do you still trust The God of 
Jacob is our helper* They will not prevail. He himself 
will dwell in ua» And John iv. 4, seys, "Greater is he 
that is in you than he that is m the world.* And 
Pani,B«n.viiL31, "If God be for us, who can be 

■?" ■- 

But, from consulting the Hebrew, I find here an 
absolute verb, and the same verb which we have, Psalm 
tL 6, "Yet have I set my king," &c: which verb, 
acffladirig to BcncMin, signifies * to ordain, 9 ' to con- 
stitute/ 'to set over.' Hence, according to the proper 
meaning of the Hebrew, this passage is thus, " Thou 
shakdwelLnUbem;" that is, thou shalt ordain pver them, 
thoo shalt constitute over them, thou shalt be anoidainer 
ever them, thou shak have them for thy care, thou shah 
rale ovet them: which Hieronymus has rightly, though 
net fally, rendered* 'Thou shalt protect them:' for 
the «gmikatk>n <rf the Hebrew word is much more 

And so, in die same way, this also if absolute, 'They 
shall rejoiefc, or praise.' As if he had said, There shaft 
be, and may there be, preachers and evangelists: (which 
is the meaning that the signification of the Hebrew more 
immediately conveys ;) for to evangelize, or to preach 
die Gospel, is to proclaim glad, happy, sweet and good 
tidings: which is what the Hebrew word terarenu 
signifies. And there are no other tidings that are 
truly glad tidings but the remission of sins, the mul- 
titude of the mercies of God, and comfort for an 
afflicted conscience. And yet, what happened to these 
messengers and proclaimers of grace, we may see 
in the apostles, martyrs, and all the saints. And we 
know, on the other hand, how Christ dwelt in them, 
ruled them, and preserved them. But, who will dwell 
in these their enemies? Who will protect them? Who 
will rule them? They want not any protectors : they are 
strong: they are giants of the earth: they are the 
powerful gates of hell, and the seat of the devil: for 


there the prince of this world is, and in them he dwells. — 
Now follows the remaining part of the verse. 

And they also that love thy name shall glory in thee. 

Although Hieronymus rightly translates these words, 
' And they also that love thy name shall rejoice in thee/ 
yet our translator ttts beautifully expressed the meaning 
of the Hebrew word, which signifies another kind of joy 
than that meant by the first verb, " rejoice/' And, as I 
am inclined to divine, the former signifies properly to 
have joy, to receive and enjoy rejoicing in ones self; and 
the latter word, to cause to be, or to make joyful, to 
rejoice another, or, as the Latins say, to be pleasant 
(jucundus) ; wherein, if any one is pleasant and happy 
from the joy which he enjoys in himself, there is a 
rejoicing in joy; as it is written Psalm lxviii. 3, " Let 
them rejoice in joy." And again Psalm xxi. 1, "Thou 
shalt make him (the Kins) glad in joy: " otherwise (as 
we say) we should be filled with joy in ourselves, and 
afford no joy to others. Hence, we have it, 1 Sam. ii. 1, 
" My heart rejoiceth in the Lord : " that is, is happy, 
[that is, ready to proclaim its joy.] And so also 1 Chron. 
xvi. 32, " Let the fields rejoice and all that is therein/ 9 
Here the prophet has figuratively called the fields 
'joyful,' because, by their gladdening nature, they ren- 
der us joyful. 

But perhaps it is folly in me to dwell so much upon 
words, when there are many other words in the Hebrew 
language which signify joy, the difference between which, 
I neither can nor wish to take upon myself to set forth. 
It is sufficient for us to suppose, that the kind of joy 
here mentioned pertains to that affection of gratitude 
which renders us grateful to, and happy in, our bene- 
factor, rejoiced at his gifts, and joyful 4n such gratitude; 
thus bringing our returns to our benefactor and his gifts, 
as the fruitful field does do its cultivator. And that this 
is the true signification, appears manifest, because, at 
the beginning of the verse, it is an absolute verb that is 
used, "and they shall rejoice;" but here it is said, "and 
they shall rejoice in thee." So that the former verb,. 


plainly indicates the feeling on account of a benefit re- 
ceived ; but the latter, the joyful returns of gratitude to 
the benefactor. For this rejoicing in joy is set forth 
Psalm exxii. 1, " I rejoiced in it when it was said unto 
me, &c. : " in which passage, we find the same word that 
we have in the beginning of the present verse. I do not 
say that this is a standard rule for understanding these 
two verbs, but I observe, that they are so to be under- 
stood in the present passage from their regimen and ab- 
solute state. For in the passages " Rejoice in the Lord," 
Psalm xxxii. 1 1, and, " Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous," 
Psalm xcvii. IS, we find the same verb with a regimen 
as that with which the present verse begins in an ab- 
solute position. The signification, therefore, of the verbs 
which I have given must be just ; unless they will say, 
that you may rejoice in God and in his benefits, without 
any feeling of gratitude. 

This signification, moreover, exactly agrees with the 
meaning of the whole. For as in the former part of this 
verse he described the joy in tribulation ; so, in the latter 
part, he is describing the joy in prosperity, or the rejoicing 
in joy; which rejoicing cannot be true and sincere unless 
it be a rejoicing in God only ; according to that of Isaiah 
lxi. 10, " Rejoicing I will rejoice in the Lord/* All 
which things we cannot understand better than by setting 
before us, (as we have said,) the generation that is con- 
trary to all such rejoicing ; in speaking of whom, we 
must invert the whole of this verse; for they I icing in 
adversity are in sorrow instead of rejoicing, and despair 
of God. Such do not rejoice continually and speak 
good concerning God, but continually murmur and 
speak evil of him. And therefore, God does not protect 
them nor dwell in them. On the other hand, when they 
abound in prosperity, they glory as fools, not in the 
Lord, but in their own works, please themselves, admire 
their own, love their own name, and seek their own 
glory. So that we may rightly invert the whole of this 
verse, and make it thus applicable to them ; and say, 
'And they shall all sorrow who hope not in thee, they 
shall always murmur; thou shalt forsake them; and 


all they that love their own name shall glory in them- 

Therefore, this verse makes, in a wonderful and brief 
way, a distinction between each prosperity and adversity, 
between each generation of men, and between each kind 
of affections, and works : and the spirit of the prophet 
describes the whole with a most appropriate antithesis 
For it is impossible that he should not be filled with 
sorrow, who does not hope in the Lord, when any tribu- 
lation shall come upon him : and he that is in sorrow 
cannot but continually murmur, because there is no 
praising of God without joy of heart : and this sorrowful 
and impatient murmurer must displease God, and be 
more and more forsaken of him : for God dwelleth not 
in Babylon, but in Salem : that is, his habitation is in a 
place of peace, Psalm lxxvi. 2. And his spirit rests upon 
the quiet and the humble. Isaiah lxvi. 2. 

On the other hand, it is impossible that he should 
not rejoice, who hopes in God : and even if the whole 
world should burst upon the head of such an one, he would 
stand unmoved amid the falling ruins. And he that is 
joyful in such a hope, cannot but think well of God, 
exult in his praise, and encourage himself in him. The 
man thus rejoicing, therefore, is patient, happy, and in 
a state to be protected and dwelt in of God. Nor will 
such an one be permitted to rejoice, hope, or exult in 
vain, for God preserving will preserve him. And this is 
the dividing road where ' The men of blood ' and * the 
deceitful men ' separate from the men of mercy and the 
men of a willing mind, in the time of the storm and in 
the hour of temptation. 

Wherefore, as I have often said, if thy soul be sad 
and cast down, begin some joyful song, or psalm, or 
something that brings thy God to thy memory, and 
thou wilt soon find relief, and wilt prove that the counsel 
of the wise man is good, * In the day of evil consider the 
good/ And again, ' Sorrow slayeth many, and there is 
no profit in it.' For in this case, music in the midst of 
mourning, even contrary to the proverb, is a most ap- 
propriate remedy ; thus David saith, Psalm xliii. 5, 


"Why art thai curt down, O my soul? and why art 
thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet 
praise Urn who is the health of my countenance and 
my God.* 

Again, it is impossible that the man should not 
please himself be puffed up, and glory and rejoice 
in himself, who, as soon as any prosperity happens 
to him, loves and praises his own name and glory, and 
not those of God And while he pleases himself in his 
prosp e rit y , what does he else bat fulfil that common 
proverb, * Mules will rub each other? * For, just in the 
same way, he blesses them that Mesa him, and praises 
them that praise him : and they in their turn bless him 
that blesses them. *nd uraise him that onuses them : 

^^^^^^^^^r^m ^^r^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^r v^a^n^^BFM^^^B ^^M^^w^a^* naB^^* ^n^na^^^^a* ^a^^^a^am^a* ^v^^av^aw^r nav sai ^aw^a^a^^a^aw ^OTaB^na^nnnnnr W 

according to that of Psalm x. 3, *' The wicked boasteth 
of his heart's desire, and Messeth die covetous," kc. 
And this is the last thing that they can do, — that is, 
vainly boast of, vaunt, and preach themselves; whose 

On the other hand, it is impossible that he should 
please himself and rejoice and glory ilk himself, who, 
now orach soever serenity and happiness attend him, 
loves not hit own name, but the name of God. For 
while a man is thus displeased with himself and vile in 
his own eyes, he will of necessity seek, love, and speak 
of the name, praise, and glory of God, saying, ' Sanc- 
tified be thy name/ but let my name and the name of 
all men be profaned. Let all the works of the Lord 
bless the Lord. Let none bless the righteous but thou 
only : let the blessing of the wicked be considered a 

If therefore thou wouldst rightly understand this 
verse of the Psalmist, suppose him, or rather, view him, 
aa placed in that situation, where, beholding the life of 
the wicked, he is vexed with a two-fold offence. The 
one, because aH things turn out unfavourable to him, 
and all his words and actions are accounted folly and 
impiety, whereby he is moved to sadness, impatiency, 
and desperation. The other, because all things turn out 
favourably to the wicked, and all their actions and 
words are praised and held in esteem ; and are imme. 


diately consecrated to immortality ; which is the most 
galling of all, and more especially irritates to offence. 
And then, growing angry, but not sinning, he speaks in his 
heart, he is silent on his bed, and waits for the end, say- 
ing the words of this verse. For if any one ask, what it 
is to speak and talk upon the beds (concerning which we 
have spoken, Psalm iv. 4,) it may be rightly answered, 
that it is nothing else but those things which are deliver- 
ed to us in this verse, — for a man to comfort himself 
in God, while the characters here described are glorying 
in themselves. 

Hence, David here preserves a most appropriate or- 
der. For the temptation on the left hand> comes first, 
and is less perilous, because, on that side only " a thou- 
sand " fall (Psalm xci. 7,) but on the right hand " ten 
thousand ; " which latter temptation is much more heavy 
and perilous, and is not undergone but by those who 
have been long exercised by the former. Each temptation 
is a furnace of probation ; as it is written, Eccles. xxvii. 
5, " The furnace proveth the potter's vessels ; so doth 
the trial of tribulation the just." And again, Proverbs 
xxvii. 21, "As silver is proved in the fining-pot, and 
gold in the furnace, so is a man proved by the mouth of 
him. that praiseth him." But how? Because by the 
former, men are rendered sorrowful, and murmur; and 
by the latter they become vain-glorious, loving their own 
name, and blessing themselves. In the former case is 
found, more generally, the destruction of the common- 
alty, and those whom we despise as sinners : but in the 
latter, is the perdition of the fat ones of Israel and the 
chosen ones among them, and those whom we venerate 
as the wise and the righteous: that is, the ungodly; 
according to that of Psalm lxxviii. SI, "He slew the 
fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of 
Israel." And Isaiah v. 14, "And their glory, and their 
multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth shall 
descend into k ; " (that is, into hell.) 

Therefore, God has ever smitten down the high 
ones, and the potentates, that he may terrify us and 
teach us an all-safe humility. And hence it is properly 


concerning the great ones of the earth that Psalm lxxvi. 
1 2, speaks, " He shall cut off the spirit of princes, he is 
terrible to the kings of the earth." But this has been of 
no profit whatever to tyrants. — And what one do we 
read of any where in the Holy Scriptures, that held the 
highest place, who did not make his glory and loftiness 
memorable by some signal fell, even if you number the 
whole of them from Adam down to Peter ? Such a care 
has God ever taken to humble the lofty and great, see- 
ing that it is necessary for the salvation of those who are 
under them to cut down the flourishing state even of 
their honour or dignity, lest they should become impious 
lovers of their own glory, and admirers of their own 
name. But on the other hand, there is hardly here and 
there one of the commonalty recorded as having ren- 
dered himself notorious by a crime. We have an Achan, 
and him who gathered sticks on the sabbath day, 
Numbers xv. 32—36, &c. 






It is necessary to consider also what ' the name of 
the Lord ' in this passage is, where David says, " And 
they that love thy name:" concerning which, many 
different things have been written in different languages. 
The Jews boast of ten names of God, according to the 
testimony of Hieronymus ; of which, that which they 
call the TetragrammatAn, Jf.iioya, they celebrate with 
great superstition ; by the virtue of which, they promise 
to themselves I know not what safeguard and effects : 
whereas, by an impious disbelieving and blaspheming of 
the name of Christ, they are all the while continually 
taking the name of God in vain : and they think of any 



thing else but'looking to and trusting in the name of 
Goa for the salvation of their souls. And this same su- 
perstition also has crept into Christendom: where many 
continually boast of, rub with their fingers, fix to their 
bodies, and carry about with them, these four letters ; 
not at all regarding whether they themselves be godly or 
ungodly. Like the Magi, who pretend and presume that 
they can do great wonders with certain letters and 

But we, as becometh Christians, ought to know 
this, — that without the godliness which accompanies 
faith, all things are superstitious and damnable : so that 
neither Christ, nor God, will be of any saving benefit 
to any one, unless they be held by faith. But every 
name of God, yea, every word of God, is of almighty 
power unto the salvation both of soul and body, if it be 
possessed in the reverence of faith. It is not the name of 
God, therefore, but faith in the name of God, that does 
all things : nor is one name more efficacious than an- 
other. For if the four-lettered name of God only has all 
this virtue and efficacy, the church acts foolishly, bap- 
tizing, and performing all her sacraments in that name, 
instead of performing them in the name of the Father, 
the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It might well excite a 
wonder that the church of Christ, which has the Spirit 
of God, did not find out such a thing before, when she 
knows all the things of God. 

If you reply, ' But the Tetragrammatdn contains all 
these things in it, and the perfections of all the other 
names: so that when you name the holy Trinity, or God, 
or the Lord, the Tetragrammatdn is named at the same 
time.' — Why then is it separated from the rest ? Why 
has it not the same effect when joined with the rest, as 
when it is venerated apart from them ? Is it so very holy, 
that when mixed with the others it is polluted by their 
profanity ? Or is it so invidious, that it envies the others 
the honour of being placed with it? Let, then, all such 
things be considered as mere figments of the Jews. Let 
all Christians be wiser, and know, that all the names 
of God have the same power and virtue. Have thou 


godly faith, without which, not even thfi name of the 
holy Trinity can be of any profit to thee. 

But as all those things were intended to be a figure ; 
and as we are to believe that not one jot or tittle was 
written in vain ; I will not deny that in the four-lettered 
name there was a figure contained, peculiar and different 
from the rest, which was to be revealed in the New Tes- 
tament ; and therefore, it is even now held ineffable and 
incommunicable, and is still held as it was before by the 
Jews, because they most obstinately hate and recoil at 
the mystery of it which is now revealed. Wherefore let 
us consider, (whether we may be thought to trifle, or 
merely to cavil with the Jews,) that the four-lettered 
name is a symbol or sign of the name of the holy Tri- 
nity, and the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, 
now revealed, but then shadowed forth under Four 
Letters. And that we may bring this to some kind of 
proof, let us argue from the Letters themselves, from 
their number, and from their signification. 

The signification is thus. — Jod signifies beginning 
(principiumj He this (ista,) Vaf } and He this (ista:) 
which, if grammatically put together, according to the 
Latin language, will form this sentence, Principium 
istius et istius: which in all things agrees with the name 
of the Holy Trinity : for, in the Godhead, the Father is 
the beginning of this, that is, the Son ; and of this, that 
is the Holy Ghost. To these pronouns this (istius) and 
this (istius) represent, in an obscure manner, the Son 
and the Holy Spirit ; even as it was meet so to be in the 
Old Testament, wherein the mystery of the Trinity was 
not to be revealed, but only to be shadowed forth. Nor 
indeed is even the name of the Father clearly revealed, 
though, by the name beginning, he was more distinctly 
pointed out than the Son or the Holy Ghost. In the 
whole of which it is signified, that, as Christ saith, Matt, 
xi. 27, neither the Father nor the Son is known by any 
one but by him to whom they are revealed : even as at 
this day also the mystery of the Holy Trinity, how much 
soever the name may be professed, is known to none but 
by the teaching of the Spirit of faith. 


It apjj&etfs' therefbre, that the number and nature of 
the Persons of •the Godhead were not less shadowed 
forth to the Jews Under the Tetragrammat6n, than 
they due to us under the name Trinity. For as, when 
this latter wdrd Trinity is unfolded, its meaning gives 
hs the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit ; so, when 
the Tetragramitiatdn is unfolded, it will give us, Prin- 
chrium istius et istius, f The Beginning of Him and of 
Him;' which, though somewhat obscurely so, is the 
same : for in each mere are alike Three rersons and 
T%o proceedings set forth to us, and in the name of the 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

Again the number is Four. — Here we have a quad- 
rate or square plane* : the first of which itself, consists 
of two simple proportions equal to the first : of which, 
one Is equal to one, and two equal to two. From this 
two-fold proportion or proceeding, therefore, there pro- 
ceeds a square figure, consisting of one equal to one, 
and two equal to two; beginning from unity, and 
ending in quaternity. These proportions are unequal, 
according to arithmetic, but, according to geometry, 
they are equal. 

Thus, in the square of this divine name, is signified 
the unity of the paternal substance : from which pro- 
ceeds the Son, equal to him by the first simple propor- 
tion : and from both proceeds the Holy Spirit, by a 
second simple proportion, equal to the Father and the 
Son : as the proportion of two to two, and one to one, 
ire equal, in geometry. And as this simple proportion 
is of all the most perfect, and as the first is the fountain 
bf head of all the proportions, and the whole is a figure 
wherein neither part exceeds the other, nor is exceeded 
by the other, because one is equal to one, and two are 
equal to two in all things ; it is clear, that, by these two 
proportions or proceedings in this most beautiful square, 
or quadrate plane, where the substance is all one and 
the same, or, by the symbol of this Tetragrammatdn, 
the equality of the Persons in the Godhead was set 
forth to the primitive fathers in a hidden way. For the 
Son is equal to the Father by the Jirst proceeding ; and 

tltu Spirit, by llie second proceeding, is equal to the 
lather and the Son. 

And now, to this we may easily refer those tour 
relations which are so commonly used by theologians, — 
active generation, (generatio) and passive gcwrntwn ; 
active breathing (spiratio) and passive breathing. For 
these four constitute (so to speak) the Triune-God, 
even as the four letters in the Tetragramtnat6n eon- 
constitute his name, 

Thirdly. The letters themselves. — The first syllable 
terminates the first proportion in the letter He, which is 
a soft breathing ; indicating, that the proceeding in the 
divine Persons is not carnal but spiritual, and all- 
sweet and all-gentle. Tor if the aspirate letter be ex- 
tended in sound it is nothing more than a certain soft 
proceeding of wind, or gentle blast ; so that it most ap- 
propriately figures forth the proceeding of the Son. 
And in like manner, the whole name is terminated by 
the second proportion in the same letter of a soft 
breathing; so that, we are to understand, that the 
second proceeding is also spiritual, and not at all dif- 
fering from the former, except its being the second, and 
proceeding from the first. So, neither does the Spirit 
differ from the Father and the Son, except in his pro- 
ceeding only, which is from both. Since, therefore, 
these proceedings are spiritual, and of a roost spiritual 
nature, it of necessity follows, that the whole beginning 
flows into the two proceedings, because the substance is' 
indivisible. And thus, the inestimable plurality subsists 
in an all-simple unity. 

These things, I say, and others that may l>e adduced 
ofthe same kind, seem to have been figured forth to them 
of old time in the Tetrogrammaton or four-lettered name: 
but which are now indeed made known in all languages; 
so that now, there is no more particular need of the 
Tetragrammatdn to understand God, than there is of 
the whole Hebrew language, and, to support what I say, 
stand the words of Burgensis, where he says, 'The Te- 
raeramtnaton, was therefore called ineffable or incom- 

nicable, because it was not reducible to the etymology 


of any Hebrew word, and its signification could not be 
known by any analogy.' Whence it appears, that these 
letters were joined together by the divine wisdom and 
purpose ; and so, that they might form a name without 
a communicable signification, extraneous, and not re- 
ducible to the nature of the Hebrew language : in the 
same way as any word may be made up of Roman let- 
ters, unknown to grammarians, and used merely for the 
sake of a certain signification or commemoration : which 
the Valentians seem to have imitated in their Greek 
word abraxas. 

That name of God, therefore, was rightly called in- 
effable or incommunicable, because the sacred mystery 
of the Trinity was not then revealed, though it was 
secretly figured forth. And this name was also rightly 
said to be applicable to God alone, because it figured 
forth God according to his substance and internal nature, 
For the true God is none other in himself, than Father, 
Son, and Holy Spirit ; or the Trinity, and all that is 
said of the unity and the proceedings : which things can 
be found in no creature whatever : and therefore, the 
TetragrammatAn can be applied to no creature. For m 
other respects, the names King, Lord, God, High, and 
the like, might be -applicable and ascribable to any one 
that stands in the stead of God : because, angels and 
men may be likened unto God as to his external works, 
but they cannot be likened to him in the Trinity in 
Unity. And therefore, they may bear the names of God, 
but the Tetragrammatdn, or four-lettered name, and the 
name Trinity, they cannot make use of. 

And now, as I think, that difficulty, Exod. vi. 23, 
may easily be solved, where many make a great noise 
about what the Spirit means when he saith, " I am the 
Lord : and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto 
Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, by my name Je- 
hovah was I not known to them : " whereas, the four- 
lettered name is found, long before Gen. iv. and after- 
wards. — Now I do not here understand it to be signified 
that those letters of the Tetragrammatdn were not then 
made known, (excepting it be signified that they were 


not then composed or written;) but that the force and 
true signification of that name, that is, faith in the Tri- 
nity, or the knowledge of Christ, was not abroad in the 
time of the fathers, nor of Moses, nor of the whole of 
the Old Testament, but only secretly inspired, and sha- 
dowed forth under figures. 

But there are some who think that the Tetragram- 
matun is the name of Jesus, the letter Sckin being added : 
which, indeed, I wish were true and to be proved. But, 
since the Evangelist Matthew, chap. i. 21, gives to his 
name the meaning, of salvation, where the angel says to 
Joseph, "And thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he 
shall save his people from their sins," and since the Te- 
tragrammat6n, as I said, is of no etymology at all, it will 
be difficult to defend such an opinion. Not to mention 
also, that in the Hebrew word which signifies salvation, 
or sariour, there is the necessary or substantial letter (as 
they call it) ain, which the Tetragrammutdn will not ad- 
mit, and the which name Jesus, formed from it has not. 
But I leave others to exercise their judgment in this 
matter. I have thus made these observations to guard 
all against the superstition of the Jews. 

What, then, is the name of God which the prophet 
in this place says is to be loved ? — Tin's name is not one 
nnlv ; for Paul, I Tim. i. 17, calls him "wise:" saying 
" The only wise Goth" And in the same place he calls 
him "The King eternal, immortal, invisible." And 
1 Tim. vi. 15, 16", he calls him "the blessed and only 
Potentate. Who only hath immortality." And John, 
I Kpist. iv. 8, saith, " God is love." And he is not 
ashamed to be called, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob. Heb. xi. 16\ 

But what would it profit us to bring forward tlie 
whole of Dionysius concerning the names of God ? 
What would it profit us to bring forward the whole 
works of the same upon mystical theology ? We may 
do this until we should leave no name to God at 
all. And indeed, how can he that is incomprehensible 
nature, be efl'able or communicable in name? Let us 


leave all speculative attempts of this kind to those who 
hgve nothing else to do : and let us, by a simple under- 
standing, receive the name of God in the scripture 
before us, as signifying, not that merely, by which he is 
called, but that which is proclaimed of him abroad ; ac- 
cording to that of Proverbs xxii. I, "A good name is 
rather to- be chosen than great riches. 99 And again, x. 7, 
" The name of the wicked shall rot." And Psalm xxiL 
,fl2, " I will declare thy name unto my brethren.' 9 The 
name of God therefore, is a good report, praise, glory, 
the preaching and proclamation of a saving God : as is 
clearly shown, Psalm cii. SI, " To declare the nfcme of 
God in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem." Here David 
says, that the name of the Lord and his praise are the 
same, and are proclaimed by the same preaching. And 
again, we have it, Psalm cxlix. 15, " Let them praise 
the name of the Lord : for his name alone is excellent ; 
his glory is above the earth and the heaven." 

And since it is God alone that worketh all in all, it 
is a necessary consequence, that the name and glory of 
all good works are due to God only. He alone, there- 
fore, is good, wise, just, true, tender, merciful, holy, 
Lord, Father, Judge, and what else soever can be 
named or applied to any one in a way of praise. From 
which truth it is left manifest, that as nothing is left to 
as either of power, merit, or operation, so, we cannot 
arrogate to ourselves any thing of name ; and that, as 
we are men, and are nothing but sin, lie, vanity, and can 
work nothing else, we have a putrid and rotting name. 
So that "All men are liars," and, " Every man living is 
altogether vanity, 99 Psalm cxvi. 1 1, and Psalm xxxix. 5. 

Wherefore, our name is, sin, lie, vanity, unrighte- 
ousness, malice, perverseness, and whatever other thing 
that is evil may be said of any one. And when we ac- 
knowledge these things and confess them, we do rightly: 
end then, we hate ourselves, our own works, our own 
name, and cast them away and lose sight of them altoge- 
ther, and love, desire, and seek God, his works, and his 
name; saying, with Psalm liv. 1, " Save me, O God, 

iv name." As if he hail said, I shall perish in my own 
name, yea, I am undone already, but in thy name I shall 
be saved. 

It is sufficiently manifest, therefore, that all these 
things are spoken by the prophet against the impious 
false doctrine of hypocrites. For as these have such 
BHbneSB as to justify themselves with the Pharisee and 
with Simon the leper in the gospel, so it is an equal 
madness in them to boast of themselves, and to love 
their own name anil preach it abroad, to insult others, 
and to accuse, expose, and upbraid publicans and sin- 
ners with the worst of appellations. But if godly and 
faithful men glory, they glory in the Lord, and desire 
that the name of the Lord should be sanctified, magni- 
fied, and glorified. All such as these accuse, judge, and 
condemn themselves, and consider themselves beneath 
all others ; they take the lowest seat ; and so, are igno- 
rant of their own name and honour altogether. 

Hut here, again, the cross alone is the judge and test 
of truth : for there are some who boast that the name 
of the Lord is loved by them. And they with great 
confidence commit to paper such expressions as these ; 
* In the name of the Lord, &c.' ' Glory to Gotl only," 
and, ' Glory to God." ' In the name of Jesus,' and the 
like. And, in a word, in whose mouth and use is there 
not that signal and most christian expression, ' Thanks 
be to God? 7 But how much more happy would the 
state of the church be at this day, if there were none 
who lied and took the name of God in vain when they 
boastingly make use of all these expressions? But alas, 
to find one who makes use of them truly, is to find a 
rare bird indeed ! For if all such love the name of God 
indeed, and do not rather love their own names, why do 
they feel indignant and swell with fury when they are 
touched by being addressed in their own name ? that is, 
when they are called fools, or evil men, or are loaded 
with any other reproach of the same kind. Why do they 
not here acknowledge their name, and say, ' Thanks l>e 
to God," and, ' Glory be to God only? ' Why do they 
10 pertinaciously resist the truth which another professes 

so pertii 


before them, when they, (according to their own ac- 
count,) profess the same themselves ? Therefore, the cross 
itself makes all men manifest. So that he spoke truly 
who uttered these words, " I said in my excess, All men 
are liars," Psalm ex vi. 11. 

j You see, therefore, how soon such an one's pre- 
tended hatred of his own name, is turned into a most 
powerful love of his own name, as soon as his false love 
of God is made manifest. For such an one will by no 
means patiently bear his own name to be taken away 
from him, which he, nevertheless, continually casts away 
and takes away from himself; saying, ' Glory be to God/ 
' Thanks be to God,' l But I am a sinner.' Who, then, 
could ever discover this most deeply hidden hypocrisy, 
if Christ did not take care to make such manifest by the 
cross, and by reproach ? These words of Gregory, there- 
fore, are most excellent and true ; * The being re- 
proached, will manifest openly, what a man is secretly 
in himself.' For when this falls upon a hypocrite, he 
will soon turn his thanks unto God into blasphemies 
against him. 

But yet, the bird of this wing finds a leaf under 
which to conceal himself, and makes excuses for his 
sins. And first of all, he lays hold of that of Augustine ; 
€ He that neglects his own reputation is cruel.' And this 
also, l Thy conscience is necessary for thyself, and thy 
reputation for thy neighbour.' And also that of 1 Pet. 
iv. 15, 16; " But let none of you suffer as a murderer, 
or as a thief, or as an evil-doer ; or as a busy-body in 
other men's matters. Yet, if any man suffer as a 
Christian, let him not be ashamed ; but let him glorify 
God on this behalf." And Hieronymus plainly teaches, 
that no one ought to rest patiently under the suspicion 
of heresy. But, in these matters, we speak according 
to the Spirit, with the prophet, in the sight of God, — 
That we ought to provide all things honest, not only 
before God, but also before all men, Rom. xii. 17. And 
2 Cor. iv. 4, " Commending ourselves to every man's 
conscience in the sight of God." And again, 1 Thess. 
v. 22, " Abstain from all appearance of evil." And 


Christ, Matt. v. 16, says, that they who suffer persecu- 
tion are blessed : but then, it is those who suffer it " for 
righteousness' sake." 

Wherefore, it is most true, that we ought not to lie 
and acknowledge a crime before men of which we are 
not guilty, but rather die like that woman related by 
Hieronymas, who was beaten seven times. But yet, as 
we ought thus to suffer death and every other evil for 
righteousness' sake, when innocent ; so we ought also to 
suffer the injury of our reputation, and not attempt any 
tumult to regain it, nor to retaliate with injury; but, 
though innocent before men, we ought to confess before 
God that we deserved these and much greater evils and 
losses, not only of our property and possessions, but of 
our good name also. For we ought to acknowledge, not 
onr property and life only, but our good name also, to 
be good creatures of God, and the best of gifts. And we 
are not to think that we deserved these things, nor to 
consider that any injury is done us if they are taken 
away; nay, we are to consider ourselves wholly unworthy 
of all these things, and are patiently to sufter the loss of 
them, if such be the will of God. 

Therefore, it is not required of thee that thou 
shouldst confess thyself a murderer or an adulterer, if 
thou be not one ; or that thou shouldst acknowledge 
any such crime, if laid to thy charge. Nay, thou oughtest 
not to confess or to acknowledge it, lest thou also 
shouldst lie as well as the person who may thus falsely 
accuse thee. And yet, thou art to be ready to bear it, 
and patient under such trial, if, when thou shall bear 
B testimony of innocence concerning thyself, thou shall 
not be believed, but still criminated. — Anil in the same 
way, thou art not to confess that thy life is nothing, or 
that thy flesh is a mere shadow of nought, or that thy 
gold is not of the value of copper ; so as to carry an 
appearance of humility. But thou art to confess these 
throgfi to he what they really are: and yet, if they are 
taken away, thou art not to resist, nor to recover them, 
nor to revenge the injury done thee. — And so also, thou 
art not to resist those who vilify and calumniate thee ; 


though thou oughtest to protest and stand to thy inno- 
cence, and not to confirm their lies by thy silence. Thus 
the Christians of Gaul, who were some time ago accused 
of devouring their infants in secret, firmly denied it unto 
their death. And, (Jer. xxxvii. 15,) when Irijah ac- 
cused Jeremiah of fleeing to the Chaldeans, lie an- 
swered, " It is false, I flee not to the Chaldeans." Ne- 
vertheless he was not believed ; and he suffered himself 
tp be beaten, and to be sent into the prison, though in- 
nocent. And so also Christ before Annas constantly 
defended his doctrine, concerning which the high priest 
interrogated him, and which he in a sinister way de- 
nied : and yet Christ received a blow from the servant, 
suffering innocently, and permitting himself to be ac- 
cused of the crime of falsehood by the unbelieving. 

And by this same rule all we must go at this day, 
.when those most ungodly flatterers of the great, like 
furies and madmen, most insidiously brand the righteous 
with the appellations of heretics, offensive, erroneous, 
.seditious, offenders of pious ears, detractors from the 
reverence of the popes, and such like, just as their own 
opinions lead them on. — All these enormities, I say, are 
to be borne, but not to be acknowledged as true. And 
fcvetf if they prevail over us, and are not content with 
the defence which we make, let them go on to rage, and 
let us confess unto God that we sutler no more than 
what we deserve, and that it is not our good name, but 
God's, that is thus taken away, and that it is justly lost 
by us, for that we are unworthy of such a good name : 
but nevertheless, let us within by faith and a good con- 
science, and without by confession, most lirmly cleave 
unto it : for they do not take away the good name from 
us, (for it does not belong to us,) but from God, whose 
gift it was, and from whom we received it. Nay, they 
take away our good name from themselves, because it 
was therefore given unto us, that they might by it be 
moved towards God, being instructed by the light of our 
good works, that they might glorify our Father which is 
in heaven. Therefore, they do not in reality take any 
thing of our good name away from us, because they 


i-annot lake ft from our conscience, nor from o'ur con- 
fession, but can only extinguish it in their own opinion, 
and that to their own loss. Therefore, we have more 
reason to condole with their misery, than to be dejected 
at our own loss. And hence, when we confess ourselves 
to be innocent, and by an honest defence repel the evil 
name which they would put upon us, we do not serve 
ourselves so much as we serve our calumniators, and 
that, against their will. 

But the birds of this feather do not defend their 
name -with this view, and according to this rule, but 
only seek how they may avoid infamy; and they never 
rest until they have overcome their adversaries, (if they 
can,) and have regained their own name, (according to 
the rule of right, or rather, the mistaken idea of right,) 
by repelling force by force. And that they may not 
become cruel, (as they imagine,) by neglecting their own 
name, they become both impious and cruel together, by 
avenging their good name, not as if it were God's, but 
as if it were their own. 

Thus, such most perversely abuse those beautiful 
words of Augustine, ' He that neglects his own reputa- 
tion is cruel," and, 'Thy reputation is necessary for thy 
neighbour.' For we are not on that account to rage, and, contrary to the Gospel, to demand a 
cloak for a coat, because a cloak is necessary for our 
neighbour; nor are we to refuse to lay down our pro- 
jtertv, nor even life itself, because our neighbour has 
need of them. And in the same manner, our fame is 
not to be regained by force, because it may be necessary 
for our neighbour. It is enough in all these things not 
to acknowledge the crime laid to our charge; and having 
done that, we ought to be willing to suffer greater things 
for God, and to have our other cheek ready; though 
not to acknowledge that the blow on the first was 
deserved by our guilt. 

But, that all this zeal in such pugnacious and per- 
tinacious defenders of their good name is mere pretence, 
and that they speak most falsely when they say that they 



that they seek not their own name, bat the name and 
glory of God; — that all such zeal is false, I say, you 
may prove by this one thing. — First, such are found 
most unconcerned in all other matters, where God is 
concerned. They make not all this bustle to do the 
will of God and to seek the glory of his kingdom : which 
they certainly would do, if they sincerely loved the name 
of God. And moreover, they most patiently suffer the 
same name of the Lord, and the same good fame, to 
perish in their neighbour. Nay, they are themselves the 
first to establish the name of God in themselves, and to 
destroy it in their neighbours. Thus, at this day, there 
are many who think they cannot be Christians, and of 
the Catholic faith, unless they go and search out those 
whom they may brand with the appellation of heretics : 
thereby, proving, that they hold one name of the Lord, 
and worship one God in themselves, and persecute 
another in their neighbours. 

Wherefore, believe not that they are lovers of the 
name of the Lord, who are always ready to brand others 
with opprobrious names, and to commend their own 
good name only. A truly good name is the same in all, 
and cannot more be loved in thyself than in thy neigh- 
bour. Thou errest if thou art offended at being called 
a heretic thyself, and yet laughest and rejoicest when 
thy neighbour is accounted a heretic. In how much 
worse a state art thou, then, if thou defame another, 
that thou thyself may est have a name? for, on the con- 
trary, thy good name ought to be used in covering the 
reproach of another, as the comely meml>ers are said to 
give more abundant honour to those members which 
are less comely, 1 Cor. xii. 24. 

But let us return to the words of the Prophet. 

That love thy name. 

- We have said, that the name of the Lord is the 
fame, the knowledge, and the praise of the Lord; and 
these also must be in others ; that is, in us, by faith and 
confession : that is, it is not our righteousness, strength, 
and wisdom, that are to flourish; but those of God are 





to be revealed in us, and in us to increase and reign. 
Thus, \\c are baptized in the name of the Lord, that we 
might not live ourselves, but that God might live in us ; 
and that the name of the wicked might perish, in order 
that the name of God only might reign in us. And 
bence, us all our actions are his, so is our name. Thus 
both our actions themselves, and our name are to be 
ascribed, not unto ourselves, but unto God. 

And therefore, it is not improper to say also, that by 
the name of the Lord, we may understand Jesus Christ, 
or, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: for all these are names 
of God, to whom belongs every good nnme. Hence, they 
who love the name of Jesus, love also the salvation of 
God, the truth of God, the mercy of God, the wisdom 
j! God) and all good: for all these things are included 
in the name of the Lord. And if a man love these, he 
must, of necessity, hate his own name, and cannot glory in 
the wisdom, the salvation, and the power of mau, because, 
they are vain; and in this way only will he be in a state 
to love the name of the Lord, that he may be saved by 
it, and that God may be glorified. 

Wherefore, let us observe the peculiar force of each 
word, "love," and "name:" for David does not say, 
who write of, talk about, sound forth, explain, think 
about, acutely dispute about, or profess to know, thy 
name; but, "they who love thy name." For who does 
not see how many there are who talk much about God 
and his name, and yet do not glory in it. The heart of 
such, therefore, is vain, and their inward parts perverse. 
.And where these are perverse, nothing can be done 

» rightly; and, on the other hand, where they are right, 
nothing can be done preversely: for God shows himself 
pure unto the pure, and unto the perverse he shows 
himself perverse, Ps. xviii. 26. 

And what loving the name of the Lord is, cannot, I 
think, be understood better than from considering the 
power and nature of love: which is, not to seek that 
which is its own, but the things of the object beloved. 
Wherefore, he will be proved and found to love God, 

twho, despising his own name, and the name of all others, 


desires from his heart to see the name of God only 
exalted, spread abroad, magnified, and known to all. 
And that this may be accomplished, such an one must 
of necessity think of all things, say all things, do all 
things, and suffer all things, which he shall think likely 
to promote the knowledge and exaltation of the name of 
God ; and that too, at the expense of his own property, 
name, and life, if required. Hence, such an one cannot be 
vain-glorious, but must be a prodigal despiser of him- 
self: nor can he be proud of, nor glory in any thing 
else, than in the Lord, whose name he loves and seeks 
to promote. 

He, therefore, who in the time of quiet and prospe- 
rity looks at his own, and pleases himself, and, with the 
full bent of his will, seeks after his own name, — he will 
be proved, by that furnace of the mouth that praiseth 
him, mentioned Pro v. xxvii. SI, not to love the name 
of God but his own. And it is such ungodly characters 
as these that the prophet is attacking in the present 
Psalm, as glorying and trusting in their own righteous- 
ness. Concerning whom also, the scripture speaks thus, 
1 Sam. ii. 2, " Talk no more so exceeding proudly : let 
not arrogancy come out of your mouth, tor by his own 
strength shall no man be made strong/' And Paul also 
glories that he can do all things; but it is through him 
who strengtheneth him. Otherwise, he glorieth not, 
except it be in his infirmities, 2 Cor. ii. And the blessed 
Virgin speaks of these things briefly and beautifully, 
Luke i. 49, in these words, " For he that is mighty hath 
done great things to me; and holy is his name." As if 
she had said, I have done nothing, but he hath done 
great things to me, who alone worketh all things, and 
who alone is mighty in all : to whom, on that account, 
belongs all the name, and whose is all the glory, for he 
alone hath done it. That is, the name " holy " belongs 
only unto him, which no man can attain unto, nor 
arrogate unto himself; for when he knows that he did 
not himself perform the work, how can he have the 
temerity to take unto himself and glory of a work that 
was not his own ? 


I He, therefore, truly sanctifies the name of the Lord, 
who keeps himself from usurping it. And this he does, 
when he acknowledges that no good work helongs unto 
him, but unto God only; and when he confesses him to he 
that which he is praised as being, Psalm cxlv. 17, " The 
Lord is holy in all his works." Behold, this is what is 
enjoiued in the second commandment, ' Thou shalt not 
take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.' This is what 
we pray for when we say, ' Hallowed (or sanctified) 
be thy name.' And this also is what is intended, Psalm 
cxi. 9, " Holy and reverend is his name.'' 

But these impious justiciaries rushing on rashly, 
continually pollute the name of the Lord, while they 
ascribe unto themselves righteousness, power, and wis- 
dom, and are pleased with hearing their own name 
praised in these things. From whence it follows, that 
with the greater number of the gifts of God any one of 
them is adorned, the more perilously he lives: and there- 
fore, no one of mortals has a greater need of the fear of 
God than such an one, lest he should pollute his name, 
and ascribe unto himself those things which are the gifts 
i. or should patiently suffer them to be ascribed 
anto him by others. This is that temptation "on the 
right hand ' : where ten thousands fall. This is that "arrow 
that flieth by day," and that " demon (or destruction) 
that wasteth at noon-day." For which cause, Gregory 
takes upon him to assert in many places, that the good 
works of all saints are unclean ; because, that is, they can- 
not sufficiently abstain from the name of God, nor hold him 
so holy and terrible as they ought to hold him : nor will 
do so, until the passions of nature be wholly mortified ; 
which never will be done in this life. For how rare a 
thing is it to find a man who is frightened and terrified 
at the name and praise bestowed upon him, and shrinks 
from putting his hand on it as a most holy thing of 
God, which it is terrible to touch? Nay, we rather smile 
weetly as if pleased, and, like swine, quietly suffer our- 
elves to be rubbed with this kind of praise. 

Where, then, shall they appear who like the giants 
T old, from an insatiable and maddened love of praise 


and of fame, carry on war againt the Lord and his 
name by mountains heaped on mountains ; thereby en- 
deavouring to take from the Lord both his work and his 
name, and to usurp it for themselves ? And yet such, in 
the meantime, prate nothing else, but ' Hallowed be thy 
name,' ' Glory to God alone/ * Thanks be to God!* 'In 
die name of the Lord, Amen:' and with such plastering 
and daubings as these, they colour, paint, and set off 
their Jezebel faces. And indeed, the world is so filled 
with the robbery of the divine equality, with the pro- 
fanation of the name of God, and with the pollution of 
the name of God, that there is not one of them that 
sees, that, instead of fighting for the name of God, they 
are horribly fighting against it, and implacably resisting it 

What a sacrilege is it deemed for the cups, the co- 
verings, and the linen of the churches and the altars to 
be touched by the laity, because they are consecrated in 
the name of the Lord ? And yet, none more awfully 
pollute and defile the name of the Lord, than those very 
blind consecrators, those reprobate self-justifiers, and 
those most vain-boasters of the works and words of God 
themselves, by their polluted touching of his glory. 

He, therefore, reverently loves the name of the 
Lord, who, with pious awe, trembles to touch his praise 
and good name, and abstains from it as from that oint- 
ment, mentioned Exod. xxx. 22 — 33, which was com- 
manded to be kept holy, and that no other composition 
should be made like it, that the flesh of man should not 
be anointed with it, but the tabernacle and the vessels 
thereof only. For he that thus worships and sanctifies 
the name of God, shall be sanctified by it : according 
to that of Psalm xviii. " with the holy thou wilt show 
thyself holy/' Because such an one not only reverences 
the name of God, that he might not touch it himself, 
that he might not usurp it, and that he might not anoint 
himself with it; but he desires that this same name 
should in the same way be reverenced and held holy by 
all : and, that this may be brought to pass, he omits to 
do nothing either by doing or by suffering. 

And now, the sum of all that we have said, may be 


die Spirit, by the second proceeding, is equal to the 
Father and the Son. 

And now, to this we may easily refer those four 
relations which are so commonly used by theologians, — 
active generation, (generatio) and passive generation; 
active breathing (spiratio) and passive breathing. For 
these four constitute (so to speak) the Triune-God, 
even as the four letters in the Tetragrammatdn con- 
constitute his name. 

Thirdly. The letters themselves. — The first syllable 
terminates the first proportion in the letter He, which is 
a soft breathing ; indicating, that the proceeding in the 
divine Persons is not carnal but spiritual, and all- 
sweet and all-gentle. For if the aspirate letter be ex- 
tended in sound it is nothing more than a certain soft 
proceeding of wind, or gentle blast ; so that it most ap- 
propriately figures forth the proceeding of the Son. 
And in like manner, the whole name is terminated by 
the second proportion in the same letter of a soft 
breathing; so that, we are to understand, that the 
second proceeding is also spiritual, and not at all dif- 
fering from the former, except its being the second, ami 
proceeding from die first. So, neither docs the Spirit 
differ from the Father and the Son, except in his pro- 
ceeding only, which is from both. Since, therefore, 
these proceedings are spiritual, and of a most spiritual 
nature, it of necessity follows, that the whole beginning 
flows into the two proceedings, because the substance is 
indivisible. And thus, the inestimable plurality subsists 
in an all-simple unity. 

These things, I say, and others that may Ik. 1 adduced 
ofthe same kind, seem to have been figured forth to them 
of old time in the Tetragrammaton or four-lettered name : 
but which are now indeed made known in all lan^uaizcv; 
so that now, there is no more particular need of the 
Tetragrammaton to understand God, than there is of 
the whole Hebrew language, and, to sup[>ort what I say, 
stand the words of Burgensis, where he says, * The 'IV- 
tragrammatdn, was therefore called ineffable or incom- 
tminicable, because it was not reducible to the etymology 


of any Hebrew word, and its signification could not be 
known by any analogy. 9 Whence it appears, that these 
letters were joined together by the divine wisdom and 
purpose ; and so, that they might form a name without 
a communicable signification, extraneous, and not re- 
ducible to the nature of the Hebrew language : in the 
same way as any word may be made up of Roman let- 
ters, unknown to grammarians, and used merely for the 
sake of a'certain signification or commemoration : which 
the Valentians seem to have imitated in their Greek 
word abraxas. 

That name of God, therefore, was rightly called in- 
effable or incommunicable, because the sacred mystery 
of the Trinity was not then revealed, though it was 
secretly figured forth. And this name was also rightly 
said to be applicable to God alone, because it figured 
forth God according to his substance and internal nature. 
For the true God is none other in himself, than Father, 
Son, and Holy Spirit ; or the Trinity, and all that is 
said of the unity and the proceedings : which things can 
be found in no creature whatever : and therefore, the 
Tetragrammatdn can be applied to no creature. For in 
other respects, the names King, Lord, God, High, and 
the like, might be -applicable and ascribable to any one 
that stands in the stead of God : because, angels and 
men may be likened unto God as to his external works, 
but they cannot be likened to him in the Trinity in 
Unity. And therefore, they may bear the names of God, 
but the Tetragrammatdn, or four-lettered name, and the 
name Trinity, they cannot make use of. 

And now, as I think, that difficulty, Exod. vi. 23, 
may easily be solved, where many make a great noise 
about what the Spirit means when he saith, " I am the 
Lord : and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto 
Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, by my name Je- 
hovah was I not known to them : " whereas, the four- 
lettered name is found, long before Gen. iv. and after- 
wards. — Now I do not here understand it to be signified 
that those letters of the Tetragrammatdn were not then 
made known, (excepting it be signified that they were 


not then composed or written ;) but that the force ami 
true signification of that name, that is, faith in the Tri- 
nity, or the knowledge of Christ, was not abroad in the 
time of the fathers, nor of Moses, nor of the whole of 
the Old Testament, but only secretly inspired, and sha- 
dowed forth under figures. 

But there are some who think that die Tetragram- 
matdn is the name of Jesus, the letter Schin being added : 
which, indeed, I wish were true and to be proved. But, 
since the Evangelist Matthew, chap. i. 2 1 , gives to his 
name the meaning ^>f salvation, where the angel says to 
Joseph, "And thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he 
shall save his people from their sins," and since the Te- 
tragrammatdn, as I said, is of no etymology at all, it will 
be difficult to defend such an opinion. Not to mention 
also, that in the Hebrew word which signifies salvation, 
or sariour, there is the necessary or substantial letter (as 
they call it) ain, which die Tetragrammat6n will not ad- 
mit, and the which name Jesus, formed from it lias not. 
But I leave others to exercise their judgment in this 
matter. I have thus made these observations to guard 
all against the superstition of the Jews. 

What, then, is the name of God which the prophet 
in this place says is to be loved ? — This name i^ not one 
only; for Paul, 1 Tim. i. 17, calls him " wi>e:" saying 
" Tlie only wise God." And in the same place he calls 
him " The King eternal, immortal, invisible/" And 
1 Tim. vi. 15, 16, he calls him ''the blessed and only 
Potentate. Who only hath immortality." And John, 
1 Epist. iv. 8, saith, 4t God is love." And he is not 
ashamed to be called, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob. Ileb. xi. 1(>\ 

But what would it profit us to bring forward the 
whole of Dionysius concerning the names of God ? 
What would it profit us to bring forward the whole 
works of the same upon mystical theology ? We may 
do this until we should leave no name to God at 
all. And indeed, how can he that is incomprehensible 
in nature, be elfable or communicable in name : Let us 


leave all speculative attempts of this kind to those who 
have nothing else to do : and let us, by a simple under* 
^tending, receive the name of God in the scripture 
before us, as signifying, not that merely, by which he is 
called, but that which is proclaimed of him abroad ; ac- 
cording to that of Proverbs xxii. I, "A good name is 
rather to- be chosen that) great riches." And again, x. 7, 
" The name of the wicked shall rot." And Psalm xxii. 
.££, " I will declare thy name unto my brethren/' the 
name of God therefore, is a good report, praise, glory, 
the preaching and proclamation of a saving God : as is 
clearly shown, Psalm cii. SI, "To declare the n&me of 
God in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem/' Here David 
says, that die name of the Lord and his praise are the 
tatae, and are proclaimed by the same preaching. And 
again, we have it, Psalm cxlix. 15, " Let them praise 
the name of the Lord : for his name alone is excellent ; 
his glory is above the earth and the heaven." 

And since it is God alone that worketh all in all, it 
is a necessary consequence, that the name and glory of 
all good works are due to God only. He alone, there- 
fore, is good, wise, just, true, tender, merciful, holy, 
Lord, Father, Judge, and what else soever can be 
named or applied to any one in a way of praise. From 
which truth it is left. manifest, that as nothing is left to 
us either of power, merit, or operation, so, we cannot 
arrogate to ourselves any thing of name ; and that, as 
we are men, and are nothing but sin, lie, vanity, and can 
work nothing else, we have a putrid and rotting name. 
So that "All m<en are liars," and, " Every man living is 
altogether vanity," Psalm cxvi. 1 1, and Psalm xxxix. 5. 

Wherefore, our name is, sin, lie, vanity, unrighte- 
ousness, malice, perverseness, and whatever other thing 
that is evil may be said of any one. And when we ac- 
knowledge these things and confess them, we do rightly: 
and then, we hate ourselves, our own works, our own 
name, and cast them away and lose sight of them altoge- 
ther, and love, desire, and seek God, his works, and his 
name; saying, with Psalm liv. 1, " Save me, O God, 


by thy name. 9 ' As if he had said, I shall perish in my own 
name, yea, I am undone already, but in thy name I shall 
be saved. 

It is sufficiently manifest, therefore, that all these 
things are spoken by the prophet against the impious 
false doctrine of hypocrites. For as these have such 
rashness as to justify themselves with the Pharisee and 
with Simon the leper in the gospel, so it is an equal 
madness in them to boast of themselves, and to love 
their own name and preach it abroad, to insult others, 
and to accuse, expose, and upbraid publicans and sin- 
ners with the worst of appellations. But if godly and 
faithful men glory, tliey glory in the Lord, and desire 
that the name of the Lore! stiould be sanctified, magni- 
fied, and glorified. All such as these accuse, judge, and 
condemn themselves, and consider themselves beneath 
all others ; they take the lowest seat ; and so, are igno- 
rant of their own name and honour altogether. 

But here, again, the cross alone is the judge and test 
of truth : for there are some who boast that the name 
of the Lord is loved by them. And they with great 
confidence commit to paper such expressions as these ; 
' In the name of the Lord, &c.' c Glory to God only, 9 
and, ' Glory to God/ ' In the name of Jesus/ and the 
like. And, in a word, in whose mouth and use is there 
not that signal and most christian expression, ' Thanks 
be to God? 7 But how much more happy would die 
state of the church be at this day, if there were none 
who lied and took the name of God in vain when they 
boastingly make use of all these expressions? But alas, 
to find one who makes use of them truly, is to iind a 
rare bird indeed ! For if all such love the name of God 
indeed, and do not rattier love their own names, why do 
they feel indignant and swell with fury when they are 
touched by being addressed in their own name? that is, 
when they are called fools, or evil men, or are loaded 
with any other reproach of the same kind. Why do they 
not here acknowledge their name, and say, ' Thanks be 
to God/ and, ' Glory he to God only?* Why do they 
so pertinaciously resist the trudi which another professes 


that they seek not their own name, but the name and 
glory of God; — that all such zeal is false, I say, you 
may prove by this one thing. — First, such are found 
most unconcerned in all other matters, where God is 
concerned. They make not all this bustle to do the 
will of God and to seek the glory of his kingdom : which 
they certainly would do, if they sincerely loved the name 
of God. And moreover, they most patiently suffer the 
same name of the Lord, and the same good fame, to 
perish in their neighbour. Nay, they are themselves the 
first to establish the name of God in themselves, and to 
destroy it in their neighbours. Thus, at this day, there 
are many who think they cannot be Christians, and of 
the Catholic faith, unless they go and search out those 
whom they may brand with the appellation of heretics: 
thereby, proving, that they hold one name of the Lord, 
and worship one God in themselves, and persecute 
another in their neighbours. 

Wherefore, believe not that they are lovers of the 
name of the Lord, who are always ready to brand others 
with opprobrious names, and to commend their own 
good name only. A truly good name is the same in all, 
and cannot more be loved in thyself than in thy neigh* 
hour. Thou errest if thou art offended at being called 
a heretic thyself, and yet laughest and rejoicest when 
thy neighbour is accounted a heretic. In how much 
worse a state art thou, then, if thou defame another, 
that thou thyself mayest have a name? for, on the con- 
trary, thy good name ought to be used in covering the 
reproach of another, as the comely meml>ers are said to 
give more abundant honour to those members which 
are less comely, 1 Cor. xii. 24. 

Bui let us return to the words of the Prophet. 

That love thy name. 

- We have said, that the name of the Lord is the 
fame, the knowledge, and the praise of the Lord; and 
these also must be in others; that is, in us, by faith and 
confession: that is, it is not our righteousness, strength, 
and wisdom, that are to flourish ; but those of God are 



to be revealed in us, and in us to increase and reign. 
Thus, we are baptized in the name of the Lord, that we 
might not live ourselves, but that God might live in us; 
and that the name of the wicked might perish, in order 
that the name of God only might reign in us. And 
hence, as all our actions are his, so is our name. Thus 
both our actions themselves, and our name are to be 
ascribed, not unto ourselves, but unto God. 

And therefore, it is not improper to say also, that by 
the name of the Lord, we may understand Jesus Christ, 
or, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: for all these are names 
of God, to whom belongs every good name. Hence, they 
who love the name of Jesus, love also the salvatiou of 
God, the truth of God, the mercy of God, the wisdom 
of God, and all good: for all these things are included 
in the name of the Lord. And if a man love these, he 
must, of necessity, hate his own name, and cannot glory in 
the wisdom, the salvation, and the power of man, because., 
they are vain; and in this nay only will he be in a state 
to love the name of the Lord, that he may be saved by 
it, and that God may be glorified. 

Wherefore, let us observe the peculiar force of each 
word, "love," and "name;" for David does not say, 
who write of, talk about, sound forth, explain, think 
about, acutely dispute about, or profess to know, thy 
name; but, " they who love thy name." For who does 
not see how many there are who talk much about God 
and his name, and yet do not glory in it. The heart of 
such, therefore, is vain, and their inward parts perverse. 
And where these are perverse, nothing can be done 
rightly; and, on the other hand, where they are right, 
nothing can be done preversely : for God shows himself 
pure unto the pure, and unto the perverse he shows 
himself perverse, Ps. xviii, 26. 

And what loving the name of the Lord is, cannot, I 
think, be understood better than from considering the 
power and nature of love: which is, not to seek that 
which is its own, but the things of the object beloved. 
Wherefore, he will be proved and found to love God, 


befpre them, when they, (according to their own ac- 
count,) profess the same themselves ? Therefore, the cross 
itself makes all men manifest. So that he spoke truly 
who uttered these words, " I said in my excess, All men 
are liars," Psalm <rxvi. 11. 

| You see, therefore, how soon such an one's pre- 
tended hatred of his own name, is turned into a most 
powerful love of his own name, as soon as his false love 
of God is made manifest. For such an one will by no 
means patiently bear his own name to be taken away 
from him, which he, nevertheless, continually casts away 
and takes away from himself; saying, ' Glory be to God,' 
4 Thanks be to God/ c But I am a sinner/ Who, then, 
could ever discover this most deeply hidden hypocrisy, 
if Christ did not take care to make such manifest by the 
cross, and by reproach ? These words of Gregory, there- 
fore, are most excellent and true ; ' The being re- 
proached, will manifest openly, what a man is secretly 
in himself.' For when this falls upon a hypocrite, he 
will soon turn his thanks unto God into blasphemies 
against him. 

But yet, the bird of this wing finds a leaf under 
which to conceal himself, and makes excuses for his 
sins. And first of all, he lays hold of that of Augustine ; 
' He that neglects his own reputation is cruel.' And this 
also, ' Thy conscience is necessary for thyself, and thy 
reputation for thy neighbour.' And also that of 1 Pet. 
iv. 15, 16; " But let none of you suffer as a murderer, 
or as a thief, or as an evil-doer ; or as a busy-body in 
other men's matters. Yet, if any man suffer as a 
Christian, let him not be ashamed ; but let him glorify 
God on this behalf." And Hieronymus plainly teaches, 
that no one ought to rest patiently under the suspicion 
of heresy. But, in these matters, we speak according 
to the Spirit, with the prophet, in the sight of God, — 
That we ought to provide all things honest, not only 
before God, but also before all men, Rom. xii. 17. And 
2 Cor. iv. 4, " Commending ourselves to every man's 
conscience in the sight of God." And again, 1 Thess. 
v. 22, " Abstain from all appearance of evil." And 


Christ, Matt v. 16, says, that they who suffer persecu- 
tion are blessed : but then, it is those who suffer it " for 
righteousness 9 sake." 

Wherefore, it is most true, that we ought not to lie 
and acknowledge a crime before men of which we are 
not guilty, but rather die like that woman related by 
Hieronymus, who was beaten seven times. But yet, as 
we ought thus to suffer death and every other evil for 
righteousness' sake, when innocent ; so we ought also to 
suffer the injury of our reputation, and not attempt any 
tumult to regain it, nor to retaliate with injury; but, 
though innocent before men, we ought to confess before 
-God that we deserved these and much greater evils and 
losses, not only of our property and possessions, but of 
our good name also. For we ought to acknowledge, not 
our pr o pert y and life only, but our good name also, to 
be good creatures of God, and the best of gifts. And we 
are not to think that we deserved these thing*, nor to 
consider that any injury is done us if they are taken 
away; nay, we are to consider ourselves wholly unworthy 
of all these things, and are patiently to suffer the loss of 
them, if such be the will of God. 

Therefore, it is not required of thee that thou 
shouldst confess thyself a murderer or an adulterer, if 
thou be not one; or that thou shouldst acknowledge 
any such crime, if laid to thy charge. Nay, thou oughtest 
not to confess or to acknowledge it, lest thou also 
shouldst lie as well as the person who may thus falsely 
accuse thee. And yet, thou art to l>c ready to boar it, 
and patient under such trial, if, when thou shalt hear 
a testimony of innocence concerning thyself, thou shalt 
not be believed, but still criminated. — And in the same 
way, thou art not to confess that thy life is nothing, or 
that thy flesh is a mere shadow of nought, or that thy 
gold is not of the value of copper ; so as to carry an 
appearance of humility. But thou art to confess these 
things to be what they really arc: and yet, if they are 
taken away, thou art not to resist, nor to recover them, 
nor to revenge the injury done thee. — And so also, thou 
art not to resist those who vilify and calumniate thee : 


though thou oughtest to protest and stand to thy inno- 
cence, and not to confirm their lies by thy silence. Thus 
the Christians of Gaul, who were some time ago accused 
of devouring their infants in secret, firmly denied it unto 
their death. And, (Jer. xxxvii. 15,) when Irijah ac- 
cused Jeremiah of fleeing* to the Chaldeans, he an- 
swered, " It is false, I flee not to the Chaldeans." Ne- 
v^rtheless he was not believed ; and he suffered himself 
tp ,be beaten, and to be sent into the prison, though in- 
Jiocent. And so also Christ before Annas constantly 
defended his doctrine, concerning which the high priest 
interrogated him, and which he in a sinister way de- 
nied : and yet Christ received a blow from the servant, 
suffering innocently, and permitting himself to be ac- 
cused of the crime of falsehood by the unbelieving. 

And by this same rule all we must go at this day, 
.when those most ungodly flatterers of the great, like 
furies and madmen, most insidiously brand the righteous 
with the appellations of heretics, offensive, erroneous, 
.seditious, offenders of pious ears, detractors from the 
reverence of the popes, and such like, just as their own 
opinions lead them on. — All these enormities, I say, are 
to be borne, but not to be acknowledged as true. And 
fcverf if they prevail over us, and are not content with 
the defence which we make, let them go on to rage, and 
let us confess unto God that we suffer no more than 
what we deserve, and that it is not our good name, but 
God's, that is thus taken away, and that it is justly lost 
by us, for that we are unworthy of such a good name : 
but nevertheless, let us within by faith and a good con- 
science, and without by confession, most firmly cleave 
unto it : for they do not take away the good name from 
. us, (for it does not belong to us,) but from God, whose 
gift it was, and from whom we received it. Nay, they 
take away our good name from themselves, because it 
was therefore given unto us, that they might by it be 
moved towards God, being instructed by the light of our 
good works, that they might glorify our Father which is 
in heaven. Therefore, they do not in reality take any 
thing of our good name away from us, because they 


cannot take ft from our conscience, nor from our con- 
fession, but can only extinguish it in their own opinion, 
and that to their own loss. Therefore, we have more 
reason to condole with their miser}', than to Ik? dejected 
at our own loss. And hence, when we confess ourselves 
to be innocent, and by an honest defence repel the evil 
name which they would put upon us, we do not serve 
ourselves so much as we serve our calumniutors, and 
that, against their will. 

But the birds of this feather do not defend their 
name with this view, and according to this rule, but 
only seek how they may avoid infamy; and they never 
rest until they have overcome their adversaries, (if they 
can,) and have regained their own name, (according to 
the rule of right, or rather, the mistaken idea of right,) 
by repelling force by force. And that they may not 
become cruel, (as they imagine,) by neglecting their own 
name, they become both impious and cruel together, by 
avenging their good name, not as if it were God's, but 
as if it were their own. 

Thus, such most perversely abuse those beautiful 
words of Augustine, c He that neglects his own reputa- 
tion is cruel/ and, 'Thy reputation is necessary for thy 
neighbour.' For we are not on that account to rage 
furiouiily, and, contrary to the Gos|>el, to demand a 
cloak for a coat, l>ecause a cloak is necessary for our 
neighbour; nor are we to refuse to lay down our pro- 
perty, nor even life itself, because our neighbour has 
need of them. And in the same manner, our fame is 
not to be regained by force, because it may be necessary 
for our neighbour. It is enough in all these things not 
to acknowledge the crime laid to our charge: and having 
done that, we ought to be willing to sutler greater things 
for God, and to have our other cheek ready; though 
not to acknowledge that the blow on the first was 
deserved by our guilt. 

But, that all this zeal in such pugnacious and per- 
tinacious defenders of their good name is mere pretence, 
and that they speak most falsely when they say that they 
do all these things from a love of the name of God, anil 


that they seek not their own name, but th& name and 
glory of God; — that all such zeal is false, I say, you 
may prove by this ode thing. — First, such are found 
most unconcerned in all other matters, where God is 
concerned. They make not all this bustle to do the 
will of God and to seek the glory of his kingdom : which 
they certainly would do, if they sincerely loved the name 
of God. And moreover, they most patiently suffer the 
same name of the Lord, and the same good fame, to 
perish in their neighbour. Nay, they are tnemselves the 
first to establish the name of God in themselves, and to 
destroy it in their neighbours. Thus, at this day, there 
are many who think they cannot be Christians, and of 
the Catholic faith, unless they go and search out those 
whom they may brand with die appellation of heretics : 
thereby, proving, that they hold one name of the Lord, 
and worship one God in themselves; and persecute 
another in their neighbours. 

Wherefore, believe not that they are lovers of the 
name of the Lord, who are always ready to brand others 
with opprobrious names, and to commend their own 
good name only. A truly good name is the same in all, 
and cannot more be loved in thyself than in thy neigh- 
bour. Thou errest if thou art offended at being called 
a heretic thyself, and yet laughest and rejoicest when 
thy neighbour is accounted a heretic. In how much 
worse a state art thou, then, if thou defame another, 
that thou thyself mayest have a name? for, on the con- 
trary, thy good name ought to be used in covering the 
reproach of another, as the comely members are said to 
give more abundant honour to those members which 
are less comely, 1 Cor. xii. 24. 

Bui let us return to the words of the Prophet. 

That love thy name. 

- We have said, that the name of the Lord is the 
fame, the knowledge, and the praise of the Lord; and 
these also must be in others; that is, in us, by faith and 
confession : that is, it is not our righteousness, strength, 
and wisdom, that are to flourish ; but those of God are 


to be revealed in us, and in us to increase and reign. 
Thus, we are baptized in the name of the Lord, that we 
might not live ourselves, but that God might live in us ; 
and that the name of the wicked might perish, in order 
that the name of God only might reign in us. And 
hence, as all our actions are his, so is our name. Thus 
both our actions themselves, and our name arc to be 
ascribed, not unto ourselves, but unto God. 

And therefore, it is not improper to say also, that by 
the name of the Lord, we may understand Jesus Christ, 
or, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: for all these are names 
of God, to whom belongs every good name. Hence, they 
who love the name of Jesus, love also the salvation of 
God, the truth of God, the mercy of God, the wisdom 
of God, and all good: for all these things arc included 
in the name of the Lord. And if a man love these, he 
must, of necessity, hate his own name, and cannot glory in 
the wisdom, the salvation, and the power of man, t>ecausQ. 
they are vain ; and in this way only will he be in a state 
to love the name of the Lord, that he may be saved by 
it, and that God may be glorified. 

Wherefore, let us observe the peculiar force of each 
word, "love," and "name:" for David does not say, 
who write of, talk about, sound forth, explain, think 
about, acutely dispute about, or profess to know, thy 
name; but, "they who love thy name." For who does 
not see how many there are who talk much about God 
and his name, and yet do not glory in it. The heart of 
such, therefore, is vain, and their inward parts perverse. 
And where these are perverse, nothing can be done 
rightly; and, on the other blind v where they are right, 
nothing can be done preversely : for God shows himself 
pure unto the pure, and unto the perverse he shows 
himself perverse, Ps. xviii. 26. 

And what loving the name of the Lord is, cannot, I 
think, be understood better than from considering the 
power and nature of love : which is, not to seek that 
which is its own, but the things of the object beloved. 
Wherefore, he will be proved and found to love God, 
who, despising his own name, and the name of all others, 


desires from his heart to see the name of God only 
exalted, spread abroad, magnified, and known to all. 
And that this may be accomplished, such an one must 
of necessity think of all things, say all things, do all 
things, and suffer all things, which he shall think likely 
to promote the knowledge and exaltation of the name of 
God ; and that too, at the expense of his own property, 
name, and life, if required. Hence, such an one cannot be 
vain-glorious, but must be a prodigal despiser of him- 
self: nor can he be proud of, nor glory in any thing 
else, than in the Lord, whose name he loves and seeks 
to promote. 

He, therefore, who in the time of quiet and prospe- 
rity looks at his own, and 4 pleases himself, and, with the 
full bent of his will, seeks after his own name, — he will 
be proved, by that furnace of the mouth that praiseth 
him, mentioned Prov. xxvii. 21, not to love the name 
of God but his own. And it is such ungodly characters 
as these that the prophet is attacking in the present 
Psalm, as glorying and trusting in their own righteous- 
ness. Concerning whom also, the scripture speaks thus, 
I Sam. ii. 2, " Talk no more so exceeding proudly : let 
not arrogancy come out of your mouth, for by his own 
strength shall no man be made strong," And Paul also 
glories that he can do all things ; but it is through him 
who strengthened him. Otherwise, he glorieth not, 
except it be in his infirmities, 2 Cor. ii. And the blessed 
Virgin speaks of these things briefly and beautifully, 
Luke i. 49, in these words, " For he that is mighty hath 
done great things to me; and holy is his name." As if 
she had said, I have done nothing, but he hath done 
great things to me, who alone worketh all things, and 
who alone is mighty in all : to whom, on that account, 
belongs all the name, and whose is all the glory, for he 
alone hath done it. That is, the name " holy " belongs 
only unto him, which no man can attain unto, nor 
arrogate unto himself; for when he knows that he did 
not himself perform the work, how can he have the 
temerity to take unto himself and glory of a work that 
was not his own ? 


He, therefore, truly sanctities die name of the Lord, 
who keeps himself from usurping it. And this he does, 
when he acknowledges that no good work belongs unto 
him, but unto God only ; and when he confesses him to be 
that which he is praised as l>cing, P.salm cxlv. 17, " The 
Lord is holy in all his works. 9 * I J eh old, this is what is 
enjoined in the second commandment, ' Thou shalt not 
take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.' This is what 
we pray for when we say, 'Hallowed (or sanctified) 
be thy name.' And this also is what is intended, Psalm 
cxi. 9, " Holy and reverend is his name/* 

But these impious justiciaries rushing on rashly, 
continually pollute the name of the Lord, while they 
ascribe unto themselves righteousness, power, and wis- 
dom, and are pleased with hearing their own name 
praised in these things. From whence it follows, that 
with the greater number of the gifts of God any one of 
them is adorned, the more perilously he lives : and there- 
fore, no one of mortals has a greater need of the fear of 
God than such an one, lest he should pollute his name, 
and ascribe unto himself those things which are the gifts 
of God, or should patiently suffer them to be ascribed 
unto him by others. This is that temptation " on the 
right hand u where ten thousands fall. This is that "arrow 
that flieth by day," and that " demon (or destruction) 
that wasteth at noon-day. 9 ' For which cause, Gregory 
takes upon him to assert in many places, that the good 
works of all saints are unclean ; because, that is, they can- 
not sufficiently abstain from the nameofGod.nor hold him 
so holy and terrible as they ought to hold him: nor will 
do so, until the passions of nature be wholly mortified ; 
which never will be done in this life. For how rare a 
thing h it to iind a man who is frightened and terrified 
at the name and praise bestowed upon him, and shrinks 
from putting his hand on it as a most holy thing of 
God, which it is terrible to touch? Nay, we rather smile 
sweetly as if pleased, and, like swine, quietly suffer our- 
selves to be rubbed with this kind of praise. 

Where, then, shall they appear who like the giants 
of old, from an insatiable and maddened love of praise 

vol. in. r 


and of fame, carry on war againt the Lord and his 
name bj fountains heaped on mountains ; thereby en- 
deavouring to take from the Lord both his work and his 
name, and to usurp it for themselves ? And yet such, in 
the meantime, prate nothing else, but ' Hallowed be thy 
name/ ' Glory to God alone,' * Thanks be to God!' 'In 
the name of the Lord, Amen : ' and with such plastering 
and daubings as these, they colour, paint, and set off 
their Jezebel faces. And indeed, the world is so filled 
with the robbery of the divine equality, with the pro- 
fanation of the name of God, and with the pollution of 
the name of God, that there is not one of them that 
sees, that, instead of fighting for the name of God, they 
are horribly fighting against it, and implacably resisting it 

What a sacrilege is it deemed for the cups, the co- 
verings, and the linen of the churches and the altars to 
be touched by the laity, because they are consecrated in 
the name of the Lord ? And yet, none more awfully 
pollute and defile the name of the Lord, than those very 
blind consecrators, those reprobate self-justifiers, and 
those most vain-boasters of the works and words of God 
themselves, by their polluted touching of his glory. 

He, therefore, reverently loves the name of the 
Lord, who, with pious awe, trembles to touch his praise 
and good name, and abstains from it as from that oint- 
ment, mentioned Exod. xxx. 22 — 33, which was com- 
manded to be kept holy, and that no other composition 
should be made like it, that the flesh of man should not 
be anointed with it, but the tabernacle and the vessels 
thereof only. For he that thus worships and sanctifies 
the name of God, shall be sanctified by it : according 
to that of Psalm xviii. " with the holy thou wilt show 
thyself holy.'' Because such an one not only reverences 
the name of God, that he might not touch it himself, 
that he might not usurp it, and that he might not anoint 
himself with it; but he desires that this same name 
should in the same way be reverenced and held holy by 
all : and, that this may be brought to pass, he omits to 
do nothing either by doing or by suffering. 

And now, the sum of all that we have said, may be 


set forth in a plain way, thus. — That no one should be 
elated with prosperity. This is indeed a thing easy to 
be said, but it is most hidden, and most deep to he un- 
derstood, and can be known by none but by those who 
are brought into the experience of it : as it is written, 
Ps. cxi. 9, 10, "Holy and reverend is his name. The fear 
of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom : a good under- 
standing have all they that do it ; the praise of it cn- 
dureth for ever." 

But they who do not understand the fear of the 
Lord in any other way than in being terrified away from 
the commission of sin by the fear of punishment, do not 
understand any thing of it at all ; nor will such ever 
learn to glory in the Lord, for the fear of the Lord is 
that whereby we fear to arrogate to ourselves, or arro- 
gantly pollute, any of those things which arc the Lord's: 
that is, his glory and his name : and when we fear to 
touch such things lest we should defile them. And in 
this fear we must proceed so far, as not to usurp to 
ourselves either temporal things nor spiritual, nor to 
imagine that there is any thing of ours in them but the 
being allowed to use them to supply our necessities, and 
those of our neighbours ; and ns being granted to us by 
the free bounty of God, to be possessed with godly re- 
verence, and to be returned to him with faithful 'gra- 
titude.* — The praise of such endurcth for over : that is, 
that they did not glory in themselves, nor in any men 
that praised them, but, according to Paul, 1 Cor. i. 31, 
desired only to "glory in the Lord!" And "then, /as 
he saith again, 1 Cor. iv. 5,) shall every man have 
praise of God." And Psalm xxxiv. 2, " My soul shall 
make her boast in the Lord." And again, 2 Cor. x. 18, 
u For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but 
whom the Lord commendeth.'' And God praises and 
commends those only who tale all praise from them- 
selves, and give it unto him, and who do not desire their 
works to be seen for any other end than that their 
Father who is in heaven might be glorified, whose name 
they love: and therefore, he loves and praises them 
again: as he saith, 1 Sam. ii. 30, " For them that 

v a 


honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall 
be lightly esteemed." 

It is, however, a hard matter -to be brought to, 
though it is necessary, to expect praise and a name from 
Gpd, neglecting, in the meantime all the names and 
praises given us by men, and when they happen to be 
given us, to give them all back to God as being borne 
with in fear, rather than possessed, for the salvation of 
others. This is serving the Lord with fear, and rejoicing 
before him with reverence. This is, not being in despair 
when tried, and not lifted up in presumption * when 
comforted and favoured: (as I have often observed 

Ver. 12. — For thou, OLord, wilt bless the righteous/ 
as thou hast crowned us with the shield of thy favour. 

Hieronymus translates it thus, 4 For thou, O Lord, 
wilt bless the righteous ; as thou wilt crown him with 
the shield of favourable kindness : ' he omits the pro- 
noun " thy : " and the pronoun " him " is more appro- 
priate than the pronoun "us," for it refers to the 
" righteous." But I think that this genitive would be 
better turned into the ablative ; thus, * With thy favour, 
as with .a shield.' But the force lies in the punctuation : 
our translator begins the last verse with the vocative "O 
Lord : " which, in the Hebrew, is the end of the middle 
one of the last three verses. 

The sense of this verse is the same as that of Psalm 
iii. 8, though the words are somewhat different. " Sal- 
vation is of the Lord, and thy blessing is upon thy 
people." And as all the force and emphasis of this pas- 
sage lie in the pronoun " thy," and the genitive " of the 
Lord ; " so, in the passage now before us, they lie in 
the pronoun " thy" and the vocative " O Lord." The 
understanding of which depends upon the contrast 
drawn between the righteous and wicked generation. 
Men bless the wicked and curse the righteous : but 
thou, O Lord, says David, shalt. bless the righteous : on 
which we have before spoken more at large in the end 
of Psalm iii. — But David is here explaining also the 


preceding verse, where he had said, that ail those rejoice 
who hope in God, that they rejoice in the time of adver- 
sity, and are the care of God ; and that in prosperity all 
glory in God who love his name. And this they do, O 
Lord, (says David,) because they know that thou only 
blessest the righteous : and being instructed in this know- 
ledge, they despise all the blessings and cursings of men, 
who bless them only that love their own name, but 
curse all those who love the name of the Lord only ; that 
is, the righteous. Wherefore, it is not without a forcible 
meaning that he adds " the righteous :" thereby making 
a manifest distinction between them and the wicked, 
whom men bless, and not God, with a very different 
kind of blessing. 

And here, again, we may remark the words of the 
prophet as spoken in the Spirit. For as he had before 
called these characters the workers of iniquity, ma- 
lignant, and ungodly, who, before men, have any thing 
but this evil appearance, nay, have an appearance and 
form of godliness, while they deny the power thereof, 
2 Tim. Hi. 5. Therefore, the prophet by " righteous," 
here, means those who are such in spirit, but who, before 
men and in their eyes, seem unworthy not only of the 
name of u righteous," but of the name of men ; and who 
are always considered fools, evil men, and mad men in 
the sight of those externally showy saints who rest se- 
curely in the blessing. And this disease, or rather impe- 
tuous flood of ungodliness, prevails at this day in the 
church even unto despair of all remedy. Therefore, 
whatever the great ones choose to do, they have plenty 
to favour and bless them, as if what they did were the 
will and pleasure of God also : unci, if you doubt this at 
all, or mutter any thing against it, you must be imme- 
diately called a heretic, a son of the devil, and a son of 

In this way does the holy and reverend name of 
God suffer in the present day : in this way is it prosti- 
tuted in the holy lusts of such men : thus is it made to 
serve the all-cruel tyranny of the Turkish ecclesiastics : 


and thus is it ^nade a mantle to cover all kinds of ini- 
quities and all kinds of evils. So that there is nothing 
more horrible to be seen, if thou open the spiritual eye, 
than that which is at this day ascribed to the Word of 
God ;, for to it are attributed, works the most numerous 
and those • diabolical : and, on the other hand, ,to the 
name of the devil are attributed the best and most 
Christian works. Nor does any one in the present day 
dare to resist and condemn, if any one of these flatterers 
of the great has prefixed to any work, though the most 
diabolical, the name of the Lord ; and has dared thus, 
to introduce the plans and designs of the devil under 
the authority of God, of Christ, and of his Apostles. 
And, unless thou hast made up thy mind to burn as a 
heretic, thou must adore this Satan and Antichrist, and, 
op account of the cover of Christ's name which they 
bear, commemorate all their works as divine. 

On the other hand, if God do any thing in the name 
of the Lord to oppose these monsters, you must not fa- 
vour it, nor consent nor assent unto it ; but you must 
believe and affirm, that all such things are carried on 
under the name and authority of the devil. And what 
else does such maddened ingratitude to Christ deserve, 
than that we should be thus delivered over to a reprobate 
mind, and be left to sin the unpardonable sin against 
the Holy Ghost upon every occasion^ continually, and 
without fear ? thus condemning God under the name of 
the devil, and worshipping the devil under the name of 
Christ— Thou art righteous, O Lord, and righteous is 
thy judgment. For if God gave up the Gentiles to a re- 
probate mind, because, when they knew God they wor- 
shipped him not as God ; and if they were left to 
commit all those enormities which are recorded Rom. i ; 
and if he also visited the Jews with such a terrible ca- 
lamity because they did not receive Christ ; what evil 
do we most justly deserve to be brought upon us, who, 
after we have received and professed his name, have 
been subverted with such malice, as to mock and defile 
it? But what a cross, think ye, these things are to those 


who love the name of the Lord ! And how horrible to 
live in this time, to hear and see the horrible insults 
and indignities which are offered God's holy name ! 

Let ns, therefore, learn to know ourselves : and let us 
set before our eyes the contrary judgments of God and 
of men, lest we should err, with the unwise, and lest we 
should be ignorant of the judgment of God and should 
fail. — This, then, is a truth that stands firm. He that 
will become righteous, must become a sinner ; he that 
will become sound, good, upright, and, in a word, like 
unto God, a Christian, and of the true faith, must be- 
come, unsound, bad, perverse, and, in a word, like a 
devil, a heretic, an infidel, and a Turk : as Paul saith, 
1 Cor. iii. 18, " If any man among you seemeth to be 
wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be 
wise." This truth, I say, stands firm. For such is the 
will that is settled in heaven, that God has determined 
to make men wise through foolishness, good through 
evil, righteous through sin, upright through perverseness, 
men of a sound mind through madness, of the tnie 
faith through heresy, Christians through infidelity, and of 
the image of God through bearing the image of the devil. 

Do you ask how this is done ? The answer is ready 
and may be given in a few words. — Thou canst not be- 
come such an one in the sight of God a* thou wouldst 
be, unless thou first become such an one in thyself and 
before men, as he will have thee to lie. lie will have 
thee to be in thyself and before men that which thou 
really art ; that is, a sinner, mi evil person, mad, per- 
verse, of the devil, &c. These are thy names, this i* all 
that thou hast of thine own, this is the truth itself, this 
is humility : when all these things have been brought to 
pass, then thou art such an one before (Jod as thou 
wouldst wish to be : that K holv, good, true, upright, 
jiodly, &c. In this way thou wilt be one thing before 
thyself and men, and another before (rod. Why then 
dost thou wonder? Wliv art thou disturlx-d if thou nei- 
ther pleasest thyself nor men ? * k For if I yet pleaded 
men, I should not be the irvant of Christ, "' saith Paul, 
Gal. i. 10. 


But we are deceived here, — we do not think that 
these 'leaders of' Israel are men, nor those who are mad- 
dened in their favour. As though we never had heard, 
that snares were laid for the* Apostles themselves by the 
false apostles under the name of Christ ! so delighted 
are we to be deceived by their appellation of blessed 
apostles, and apostolicals, if we can but find that we 
please them : so that the words of Psalm liii. 5, are ful- 
filled, ' God hath scattered the bones of them that please 
men : they are confounded, because God hath despised 
them.' And that of Isaiah iik 12, "O my people, they 
which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way 
of thy paths." Observe, I pray you, how plain and 
powerful this definition is. — All are deceived who are 
praised: and all praisers are deceivers. Who then 
would not tremble at being praised? Who ought not 
rather to be dispraised ? Are those then, (you will say) 
the only persons who speak and think rightly, who re- 
prove all our actions and account us miserable ? Yes ! 
That is the true state of the case. For, Rev. iii. 17, it is 
said to the church of Laodicea, " Because thou sayest 
I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of 
nothing ; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and 
miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." 

. As therefore, these things are so, every Christian 
should take the most diligent care not to despise or 
praise, according to the judgment of the multitude, 
those whom men despise and praise. For there is danger 
here lest we run against the Lord of life and glory, who 
was numbered with the transgressors and still remains 
with those who are accounted such, and will do so unto 
the end of time : because he justifies sinners before men, 
and condemns the righteous ones of this world. For in 
the former, his own name is lost, and the holy and re- 
verend name of God dwells, and they are thereby sanc- 
tified : but in the latter, the name of God is cast out, 
and there dwells in them the profane and abominable 
name of men whereby they are polluted. 

I take it for granted, that the figure is very well known 
by which "the just" (justoj is put for the just (justis) in 


the plural, or for a general and distributive sentence, 
thus, " Thou wilt bless the just ; " that is, every one 
who is just And moreover, all know, that to " bless/ 9 
according to the manner of expression used in the scrip- 
tures, is the same as to praise, to glorify, to wish well, 
to wish all good ; and is contrary to cursing, reproaching, 
and wishing ill: either of which, when it is done of God, 
is done indeed, and in reality ; because he saith and it 
is done ; but if it be done of men it is nothing, and 
amounts to nothing. 

But, as we have said at large, Psalm i. he is called 
a just or righteous man, who is so in secret ; not in his 
own eyes, nor in the eyes of men, but in the sight of 
God. It is such an one as this that believes and trusts 
in God : and of such an one you may say, that he is a 
righteous sinner : but, as we have said, in a different 
way and view from all human estimation. 

As thou hast crowned him with the shield of favour. 

That is, thou hast surrounded or encompassed him : 
according to that of Psalm exxv. 2, "The Lord is round 
about his people/' And, Psalm xxxiv. 7, " The angel of 
the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him." 
And again, Deut. xxiii. 10, " He led him about, he 
instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye." 
But all this is done insensibly in the spirit, while you 
are sensibly feeling that of Psalm cxviii. 12, "They 
compassed me about like bees/' &c. Wherefore, this 
favour, this good-will, and this lovingkindness of the 
Lord, are to be apprehended by faith, that we fail not, 
when our Saul compasseth us about as with an hedge, 
that he may bring us over to trust in him, 1 Sam. xxiii. 
26. Thus we see the various consolation which God 
holds forth unto us, (but all in the Spirit,) that he may 
allure us to trust in him, as we have it, Deut. xxxii. 1 1, 
'As an eagle enticeth her young to fly, and hovereth 
over them/ &c. : for, as it is written, Psalm xviii. 10, 
" He rode upon the cherubim and did fly ; yea, he did 
fly upon the wings of the wind." 1 

Thus have I spoken at a great length concerning 


these affections of faith, hope, love and joy, that when 
they shall occur again, we may dismiss them sooner, 
and, having thus indulged prolixity once for all, may be 
more brief hereafter. Let us, therefore, at the end of 
this Fifth Psalm, make a pause, that when we have re- 
cruited ourselves by a little rest, we may enter with more 
alacrity on the Sixth Psalm. 

And, as we have thought proper to rest here a little, 
we will, for the use of some few, just add, to these 
crooning graces and blessings which pertain unto life, 
those two verses which are always sung at the end of 
the Psalms throughout the whole church, * Glory be to 
the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,' &c. 
for these are so much like the last two verses of the 
present Psalm, in which we are taught that the name of 
die Lord is to be praised and loved. 

Glory (saith the church) be to the Father, and to 
the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the begin- 
ning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. 

In using these godly verses the affections and feel- 
ings are to be engaged ; so that, what is sung by the 
voice, may be sung in mind and spirit also : for in these 
is contained the sum of all prayers and affections, in the 
same way as in that part of the Lord's prayer, ' Hal- 
lowed be thy name,' are contained all the following pe- 
titions, and as all the following precepts of the Decalogue 
are contained in the first commandment. Thus, as the 
first commandment is the sum and substance of all the 
rest, and that first petition of the Lord's Prayer is the 
sum and substance of all the rest ; so, the affection of 
this verse is the sum and substance of all affections : for 
no prayer ought to be put up but that which has for its 
object the glory of the divine majesty, that his name may 
be sanctified : nor ought any thing to be done in work, 
but that wherein those things are sought which are 
God's, that we may have no strange god : so that we 
ought to be proved by no other motive but the glory of. 

- In * word, by'these verses, if w* use and ring them 
in mind and spirit* we in a short way accomplish all 
that multitude of sacrifices in the Old Testament For 
what was their offering unto God slain sheep and cattle, 
but the same as oar offering ourselves Unto God as men 
slam by ein, and living unto righteousness onto the 
pnpse and glory of bis grace ? as Hosfea saith, chap. xiv. 
2, "So will we render unto thee the calves of our lips." 
and Psalm li. " Then shalt thou be pleased with the sa- 
crifice of righteousness, then' shall they offer bullocks 
upon thine altar." And Heb. xlii. 15, " By him, them- 
fixe, let us ofier die sacrifice of ptaise to God con- 
tinually, that is, the fruit of our Kps, giving thanks to 
his name." 

Nor is the sacrifice of the New Testament any thing 
else but that winch » contained in these verses, so that 
the sacrament of the altar may be called the Eucharist; 
that is, a giving of thanks ; because in performing that 
service, we pnopeiiy ftlfil the fare* and meaning of 
tfame vanes. For iris not enou^i to 'partake eff the body 
of die Lord, unless we do it " in imaembptfiee." of him, 
as it is commanded. But how many irfr there who daily, 
matter over this verse, while thete are but few who 
really do that which it signifies. Wherefore, it is neces- 
sary that every one watch himself, and remind himself, 
from the admonition and invitation contained in this 
veree, what he owes unto God. 

And here, we do not say Glories be to the Three 
Persons, but, * Glory be,' &c, because — the glory of the 
Triune God is equal and the same, even as their ma- 
jesty and divinity are the same ; and therein we confess 
the revealed holy name of the true God. And in this 
matter the highest faith is necessary ; which is called 
forth into exercise in the present verses. For those things 
of which we are now speaking, are incomprehensible, 
and the higheats points of our faith. 

But, that we may speak of these things in a more 
practical way, we would say, — let power and might be 
ascribed unto the Father, wisdom and counsel unto the 
Son, and goodness add love unto the Holy Ghost So 


tbat, let him who flings glory to the Father, offer up his 
own yam-dory, confessing his own weakness and infir- 
mity ; and let him never desire to be strong or mighty 
but in God the Father. When he sings glory to the Son, 
let him hate all his own wisdom and counsel, and, hav- 
ing sacrificed these beasts, let him offer them up ; con- 
fessing his own ignorance and foolishness, and not 
wishing to be accounted wise and prudent, neither by 
himself nor others, but in the Son, his God. When he 
sings glory to the Holy Ghost, let him lay aside all con- 
fidence in his own righteousness and goodness; con- 
fessing his sins, desiring to be made righteous and good 
by God the Holy Ghost, and offering up the opinion of 
his own righteousness. Hereby it conies to pass, that we 
leave all things unto God, and nothing unto ourselves 
but confusion and the confession of our evils, our no- 
thingness, and our misery. Thus, we are just, and render 
to aU their dues. 

But let no one so think, as to believe, that he can wor- 
thily sing these verses. Let him rather sing desiringly 
than positively ; that his singing may be rather a prayer, 
a praise, and a giving of thanks. For there is no one 
without a vain-glorious opinion of his own power, 
wisdom, and goodness, and no one to be found who 
does not take something from the glory of God, and 
does not impurely sacrifice this sacrifice. 

And this prayer is to be offered up as a common 
prayer, ' As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever 
shall be, world without end, Amen :' that is, he who 
sings this, ought to wish that all the creation from the 
beginning would, unto all eternity, glorify God with 
him. And therefore, this prayer is most weighty and ef- 
ficacious, because it is the most universal ; wherein that 
which is deficient in us is supplied by the communion of 
all saints, and especially by Christ himself: with which 
universality, we may sing in concert most safely; for 
there the deficiency of our voice, will be assisted and 
perfected by the multitude of the perfect. 

Hence, it is impossible that any man given to vain- 
glory should sing these verses, unless he would by his 


horrible noise confound the sweet harmony of the whole 
creation, and thereby call down and >hasten evil upon 
his own head. For such, important* discoid, which 
would disturb the harmony of God, would not be to- 
lerable. From this destructive vain*glory, therefore, 
may Christ himself deliver us : who is our glory for 
ever and ever. Amen. 





Concerning 'victory/ and the 'ornns,' we have 
spoken, Psalm IV. But the mystical signification of this 
' Ej^btb,' has been minutely handled bjp many ; whom 
wfc vpll allow to indulge in their own opinions; and w* 
will foUopr those who speak simply and without any 
mystery; considering, that the grammatical or historical* 
signification of the 'eighth,' is, that it means an organ, or, 
a harp with eight strings. For Psalm xxxiii. 3, indicates* 
that the psaltery was an instrument of ten strings. So 
that the meaning is, that this Psalm is one of those 
which were sung * to victory ' on the organs : (concern- 
ing yhich, we have spoken, Psalm iv : ) but so, that it 
was sung on the particular instrument of eight strings, 
that is, the harp : and the word " eighth " is added, in 
die title, to signify the kind of grace spoken of in die. 
Psalm. — I am not certain whether the eight-stringed 
harp, was of the highest, the middle, or the lowest kind; 
It appeals that the psaltery of ten strings was of the 
highest kind ; so that we find that to have been used in 
joyful and festive Psalms. And it is certain that the 
Psalms 'to victory 9 were accustomed to be sung on the 
harps, which, by a general appellation, are called 'organs' 
in me titles of the Psalms. 


It is not however to be doubted, that all these things 
were figures of things to come ; and that these eight 
strings were not then instituted in vain, nor commended 
in vain. Though I, indeed, according to my bold way, 
am not inclined to apply them to the eighth day of the 
future resurrection only, but to the present state of ihe 
church, and to a certain peculiar affection and experience 
of the believers in Christ. Not that there was not the 
same state also under the Old Testament, but it was 
not then revealed. Wherefore, let us meditate for our 
mind's edification, and consider, that the harp of eight 
strings was the highest, the chief, and superior to all the 
rest, (even as we consider that the psaltery of ten strings 
was the highest,) and that it was for that reason distin- 
guished in this title by the name ' eighth.' 

We have mentioned in the beginning, that the psal- 
tery and harp, differ in this, — that the psaltery, from 
having the cavity in the upper wood, sends its sound down- 
wards from the top ; whereas, on the contrary, the harp, 
from having the cavity in the lower wood, sends its sound 
upwards from the bottom. By which particulars are figured 
forth those two sacraments of the death and resurrection 
of Christ, and the mortification of the flesh, and quick- 
ening renewal of the spirit in us. So that, the singing 
on the harp, in the revelation of the truth, signifies 
nothing else but the work of the cross, the mortification 
of the members, and the destruction of the body of sin ; 
whereby we are raised above all our earthly wisdom, 
and brought to savour those things which are above, 
where Christ sits. And the singing on the psaltery, sig- 
nifies the work of the Spirit, justification, peace, find 
the like, which, through faith and hope, come down 
from above. Hence, the harps were properly adapted, 
(as we have said,) to the Psalms ' to victory : ' because, 
die work of the Lord, that is, the cross of Christ, re- 
quires exhortation, that we may endure unto the end, 
and may, by perseverance, obtain the victory. 

And since in this Psalm that sum of the cross and 
mortification, and that very brink of death, that is, hell, 
are described, it was not improperly said to be on the 


higlkjst harp, that is„ the ' eighth, " and the eighth 
number very frequently occurs, and is a sacred number 
in the Holy Scriptures ; as Ilieronymus shows, from 
the eighth day of circumcision, and from the eight souls 
that were saved in the ark of Noah ; and David also is 
said to be the eighth son of Jesse ; and Zaclmrias the 
father of John received his speech on the eighth day ; 
and the like. And moreover, eight is a solid number, a 
square, and an equal to equal, consisting of six equal 
sides, having twenty-four plane-triangles, and eight solid 
ones, like a die : which square figure is also frequently 
used in the Holy Scriptures, and it is by philosophers 
applied to signify equality and stability. And again, the 
number air, (which is the number of this Psalm,) is the 
first number of perfection : so that by it is signified the 
solid, stable, perfect, and absolute mortification of the 
old man by what is sung on this harp ; which mortifi- 
cation is truly described in the present Psalm. But why 
this same tide is not prefixed to all the Psalms on the 
same subject, we desire to remain in ignorance, (to use 
the words of Augustine,) because God has not willed 
that we should know the reason. 

Wherefore the words of this Psalm will suit him 
who is singing on the eight strings : that is, who is ex- 
ercised under die extreme pains of death and hell, as the 
words of the Psalm themselves show. An i hence, ac- 
cording to my judgment, this Psalm contains the expe- 
rience of what was taught in the Psalm preceding. For 
we there said, that the nature and power of hope were 
shown and exercised in the man while labouring in the 
midst of evils and sins. And what the feelings, the 
surges of mind, the groans, and sighs, and the words and 
counsels of such an one are, we have set forth in the 
present Psalm. 

Wherefore, we are to consider, that the words and 
doctrine contained in this Psalm are general : that is, 
are applicable not only to Christ himself, but unto any 
Christian while labouring under these things. For those 
who are in this state, and exercised with these things, 
and are instructed thereby, are sure to have an impla- 


cable war raised against them by the walkers of iniquity, 
who, depending on their own works, and teaching others 
to do the same, always most pestilentially resist this 
mortification. For it is not our works, but the work of 
God, that is here going on ; which must be endured 
alone by a patiently-suffering hope: for such an one 
cannot be delivered from, nor comforted under, this 
work, by any works of men : nay, when placed in this 
excess, the man sees that " all men are liars." Hence, 
the Psalmist here most severely attacks, not persecutors, 
but the workers of iniquity, and crafty counsellors, who, 
under a show of kindness, are injurious opposers of this 
work of God : for their opinion will never endure ^he- 
hearing, that these things are sent and wrought of God ; . 
being always authors and teachers of despair and pre- 
sumption, but never of hope. 

Nor are we to think that all the believers in Christ 
are exercised with these things which are set forth in this 
Psalm. For all are not proved by all kinds of tempta- 
tions, though alhare proved by many and various temp- 
tations. So, in the Gospel, we do not read of any more 
than one, (the woman of Canaan from Syrophenicia,) 
who was exercised with this kind of temptation and pas- 
sion ; which was, when Christ refused to hear either her 
own cry, or the intercession of his disciples, and while 
she suffered the being compared unto dogs, and not unto 
the children, and the being most. positively denied. The 
rest were blind, or halt, or labouring under some such 
bodily calamities and diseases. And so also, the temp- 
tations here described happen principally unto them 
who are of great faith, and, as it was said of David, who 
are men " after God's own heart." And yet, the nature of 
this temptatiqn is to be learned, that we may be ready if at 
any time God shall will to prove us by such a day of trial. 

And why should we not endeavour also (which 
many have endeavoured) to find out the order which is 
observed in the preceding Psalms, with the intent that we 
may seek and know their peculiar variety? for these va- 
rious Psalms, contain various and particular designs 
and experiences. . 


The First Psalm then, seems to set forth to us the 
perfect image of a godly man, or of the people of God ; 
though in short and general words and terms ; and there 
is therein set forth such a godly man as all the Psalms 
afterward speak of: that is, one that is spiritual, who is 
delighted only with the law of the Lord, and who is not 
moved by any prosperity or adversity. And then, it sets 
forth the opposite image of the ungodly ; and then, the 
end of each : showing, that God knows the former, but 
knows not the latter : and that, therefore, the latter shall 
perish, but the former shall be saved. So that the First 
Psalm seems to be placed most rightly, at the beginning, 
as the argument of, or introduction to, all the rest ; in 
which we may see what is treated of throughout the 
whole Psaltery. 

The Second Psalm teaches that Christ is the head 
and author of the godly people. And then it shows, 
where and from whence his kingdom is, and to what 
extent it shall be enlarged : namely, that it is from Zion, 
and shall be extended to the uttermost parts of the 
earth, in defiance of, and contrary to, the wills of all the 
adversaries, who Shall fight against it in vain. And 
lastly, it shows the nature and manners of this kingdom : 
that all the subjects of it serve in fear and joy, and are 
prepared to trust and hope in Christ in the time of his 

In the Third Psalm, the Head and King of this 
faithful people himself is introduced as an example of 
suffering and of glorification : shewing, that he is not a 
leader in name only, who commands and requires many 
things to be done, and does nothing himself; but one 
who goes before the people over whom he is appointed 
in the most lawful office of leader ; one who is powerful 
and " mighty in word and deed," and who begins " to 
do and to teach." 

In the Fourth Psalm, the people thus constituted 
follow their leader through sufferings. And first of all, 
they are led into temporal and lighter sufferings ; in 
which they are exercised, and, despising all the abun- 
dance and good things of this life, (which are signified 

VOL. III. x 


«by the abounding in corn, wine, and oil,) are led into 
•hope; in which they sleep in peace. And this is the 
first, and lowest degree of the cross, wjiich is thus set 
iwtth for beginners, and those who are more tender. 
. . In the Fifth Psalm, this people, being strength- 
ened by temporal sufferings, are brought under the 
spiritual and more perilous temptations described by the 
<Word ; wherein Satan attacks them with heretical cogi- 
tations, that is, perverse opinions, which fight against 
pure faith and hope. And they have, moreover, to con- 
tend against that greatest of all spiritual beasts, pride, 
which arises out of their very prosperity, and by which 
the angels fell from heaven. Here therefore, the feelings 
and exercises are more vehement and increased. Here the 
powers of the soul especially suffer, and the spirit 
agonises for the truth and the sincerity of faith. 

This is the kind of exercise which we find in Paul 
when contending against the Jews and the false 

And then, in the Sixth Psalm, which contains 
the last and finishing conflict, we have their contending 
with death and hell : which kind of conflict is endured, 
not with men, nor with temporal nor spiritual things ; 
but it is . inward in the Spirit : nay rather, it is out of, 
and above, the Spirit ; and is in that extreme ecstasy 
where no one hears, sees, or feels any thing but the 
Spirit ; who, with groanings that cannot be uttered, 
makes intercession for the saints, and wrestles in a cer- 
tain way with God hitnself. And no name can be given 
to this wrestling prayer, nor can any one know what it 
is but by experience. — But let us now enter upon it in 
the particulars of this Psalm. 

Ver. 1 . — O Lord, rebuke me not in thy fury, neither 
correct me in thine anger. 

A question has been raised whether there be any 
difference between fiiry and anger, and any difference 
between rebuking and correcting ? Now we know that 
in other places of the scripture, rebuking and chastening 
are put together: as in Rev. iii. 19, "As many as I love 


I rebuke and chasten : be zealous therefore and repent :" 
so that this last word " correct/ 9 is the same as chasten- 
ing or disciplining. Him that wishes to consider this as 
a repetition only, we will leave to indulge in his own 
opinion. But we, in the mean time, will make this dis- 
tinction, — that rebuking, is reprehending ; and correct- 
ing, chastising or striking the person when reprehended : 
which is according to general usage among men, where 
the criminal is first accused and reprehended, and then, 
after the sentence has been pronounced, led to punish- 
ment. And so, when children have done wrong, they are 
first rebuked and chided and then beaten. 

This rebuking in the experience of the heart and 
spirit, is a dread and horror of conscience before the 
face of the judgment of God ; under which, Christ 
groaned for us in the garden ; as Isaiah predicted of 
him, chap. liii. that he should do ; saying, " He hath 
borne our griefs and carried our sorrows/' And when he 
began to be sorrowful and very heavy he said, Matt, 
xxvi. 38, " My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto 
death." For in this state the soul, being left destitute of 
all confidence, finds herself in a horrible condition as a 
guilty criminal standing alone before the tribunal of the 
eternal and angry God. Of this state, Job saith, " If He 
will contend, who shall answer him ? " For in this con- 
tending every one must be dumb, like that guest men- 
tioned, Matt. xxii. 11,12; who, when he was asked why he 
came in not having on a wedding garment, was speech- 
less. And then that which is mentioned in the same 
chapter, ver. 15, " Bind him hand and foot and take 
him away and cast him into outer darkness," expressed 
that which is here experienced in the being ' chastened 
in anger.' For the conscience, being reprehended and 
convicted, immediately feels nothing else, than that 
eternal damnation is its portion. 

No one can understand this deep experience nor 
indeed the inferior kinds of it, but he who has tasted 
it: and therefore, we cannot fully describe it in treat- 
ing of it. .fob experienced it more than any other, 
and that frequently. And after him David and king 

v a 


Hezekiah, as recorded, Isaiah xxxviii. and a few others. 
And, lastly, the German divine John Tdulerus makes 
frequent mention of it in his sermons. And this temp- 
tation seems to me to be the same as that which Christ 
mentions, Luke xxi. ; where, among other evils of the 
last time, he enumerates terrors from the heavens; 
under which, men's hearts shall fail them for fear, and 
for looking after those things which are coming on the 
earth : so that, the worst and most perilous tribulation 
shall be in the last and most perilous time. But we see 
many even now suffering those things, and, from not 
• knowing any remedy, turning away into madness and 
continually sorrowing, wasting away, and consuming. 
Under this some of the fathers have also laboured in 
the desert. 

And let no one here pratingly contend with us, nor 
presume so much upon his thick brains, as to pretend 
to come forward and make a separating distinction be- 
tween servile fear and love ; and say, that they do not 
exist together. This work of God is not to be compre- 
hended by any capacious understanding : there is dark- 
ness upon the face of this deep : and there may be 
together a most servile fear, a fleeing from punishment, 
and a most ardent love. As Christ saith, Psalm cxlii. 4, 
» " Refuge failed me, and no man cared for my soul." 
Love^ lies in a most secret depth ; but servile fear 
appears and is felt with intolerable violence : the spirit 
is borne upon the top of the waters, and nothing is left 
but a groan that cannot be uttered. And, finally, what 
this tribulation isj and what it worketh, may be col- 
lected from the various features of it which this Psalm 

First of all, David prays for the removal of the 
wrath and fury of God : which he would not have done, 
if he had not felt his anger and fury. He does not, how- 
ever, refuse to be rebuked and chastened, but prays that 
it may be done in mercy : as we have it also Psalm 
xxvi. 2, " Examine me, O Lord, and prove me, try out 
my reins and my heart." And Psalm cxxxix, 23, 24, 
" Search me, O God, and know my heart : try me and 

know my thoughts : and see if there be any wicked way 

in me." 

Wherefore, in this verse we have a twofold rod of 
God described : the one of mercy, and the other of an- 
ger. And thus also Jeremiah saith, chap. x. 24, " O 
Lord, correct me, but with judgment: not in thine 
anger, lest thou bring me to nothing." And Job says, 
vii. 20, "Why hast thou set me us a mark against thee?" 
And verse 17, " What is man that thou shouldst mag- 
nify him ? and that thou shouldst set thine heart upon 
him ? " This tribulation is also called in the scriptures, 
the day of visitation, and the day of beholding : because 
God tortures the wicked by his looking upon them only, 
which is intolerable : as we have it, Habakkuk iii. 4, 
" He beheld and drove asunder the nations, and the 
everlasting mountains were scattered." And thus also 
Exod. xiv. 24, we read that the Lord " looked " only 
upon the hosts of the Egyptians, and that terror and 
confusion immediately seized them. In a word, tin's is 
that day of judgment and eternal destruction, which 
no one can ward off', no one can avoid or esca|>e, uidess 
by hope he lay hold of the mercy of God in Christ Jesus 
our Lord. 

This Psalm teaches us, therefore, that, if any one be 
pressed in these straits, he should flee unto no other 
than the angry God himself. Hut this is a mutter most 
difficult and laborious : and in a word, this is hoping 
against hope, and indeed a striving against impossi- 
bilities; as far as the feelings and apprehension of the 
person are concerned. For here is that most miserable 
conflict which Ilezckiah describes in his own experience, 
Isaiah xxxviii. 14, h< () Lord, 1 am oppressed, answer 
for me/ 1 And immediately afterwards, as if be bad felt 
a denial, he adds, * what shall I say : or what will be an- 
swer me, when he himself hath done it? ' As if lie bad 
said like 'Job, chap. ix. 1(>\ " If 1 had called and he had 
answered me: yet would I not believe that he had 
hearkened unto me." So much do hope and despair al- 
ternately prevail here, that, even if those who call upon 


God are heard, yet they feel it not, and do not even be- 
lieve that their voice is heard. 

And therefore, when this Psalm saith " in thy fary," 
die Psalmist thereby confesses that what he suffers is 
from God : bo that he might say. What shall I say ? 
What will he answer for me ? Will he heat me ? Will it 
do me any good to pray when I know that he himself 
has done these things? Wherefore, if men have not 
learned in lighter temptations to flee unto htm that 
smiteth them, that is, untaGod ; (as the prophet Isaiah, 
chap. viii. most fully teaches ought to be done ;) how 
will they turn and flee unto him under this gfeatest of 
all pressures, where it is felt that God himself worketh 

Wherefore all other temptations are the mbst perfect 
examples of this ; and are, as it were, pre-instructions 
and preludes to it ; wherein we are taught always to flee 
onto God against God, as it were. 

Here, then, we ate to know, that the doctrine of this 
Psalm is most diligently to be observed by them that 
suffer these things: that they may not wander away, 
may not complain, and may not seek the consolations of 
men, but may stand alone and endure the hand of God, 
and, with the prophet may never turn any where but 
unto God: saying, "O Lord, rebuke me not in thy 

And this is what Jeremiah (Lam. iii. 24 — 89,) most 
folly and beautifully teaches, " The Lord is my portion, 
saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord 
is good unto them that wait on him ; to the soul that 
seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope, 
and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. It is 
good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He 
sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne 
it upon him. He putteth his mouth in the dust if so be 
there may be hope : " that is, he hideth his Tace and 
sayeth nothing, as if he were buried in the dust with 
die dead. 

And it is under the same feelings, that those wofrds 


of Psalm cxliii. 3, 4, were written, " He hath made me 
to dwell in darkness as those that have been long dead. 
Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me : my 
heart within me is desolate." In this silence, and in this 
solitude, this purging and cleansing are accomplished.* 
As we have it also, Psalm IviiL 4 — 8, " My heart is 
sore pained within me, and the terrors of death arc fallen 
upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon 
me; and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, O 
that I had wings like a dove, for then would I flee away 
and be at rest; so, then would I wander afar off, and 
remain in the wilderness, Selah. I expected him whor 
should save me from the stormy wind and tempest :" 
which in the Hebrew, is, from the commotion of the 
wind and storm; which is the same thing. 

Ver. 2. — Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am 
weak: O Lord, heal me, for ?ny 1>oncs are vexed. 

Here, he in the next place confesses himself weak ; 
that is destitute of strength; and therefore unable to 
endure that un sup portable rebuke and chastisement of 
the anger of God? As if he had said, The terror of thy 
anger is more than I can bear: and unless thou com- 
municate to me the power of thy grace, I must utterly 
despair and perish. Thus Moses, Psalm xc. 11, " Who 
knoweth the power of thine anger, (that is, the violence 
and force of it) or thy wrath, by all his fear of thec. :,, And 
the force of this feeling is moreover shown by the 
frequent repetition of the name of the Lord, "Have 
mercy upon mc, O Lord/' " () Lord, heal me/" '• ( ) Lord, 
how long?" For these are the feelings and cries of 
those even, who are oppressed with lighter temptations: 
they call continually in heart and mouth upon the 
helping name of God. 

Some will have it. that, u Have mercy' in this 
passage signifies properly, not the remission of sins, 
(which is generally expressed by a word signifying 
clemency or pity; as in I'sahu cxi. 4, "gruciou* and 
full of compassion/') but grace, or strength, whereby the 
soul may be strengthened; which uptly agrees with the 


word " weak," " Jor I am weak " or ' impotent: ' and 
it is weakness that is helped by strength. Such, there- 
fore, is the nature of this temptation: which, is most 
appropriately described in the words of this Psalm, 
though it can be really known by no one, but by expe- 
rience, as I have before said. For this expression 
" weak" touches the weakness of the spirit, not that of 
the flesh : that is, that weakness which neither hope nor 
love, no, nor even faith is able to support, unless it be 
thus strengthened. 

In the next place he says also that his " bones are 
vexed," and therefore he prays to be healed. But, who 
understands what this vexing of the bones is? For 
David is not here speaking of a corporal vexation of the . 
bones of the body by a fever or any other such disease. 
And this inexperience, gave occasion to many illustrious 
fathers also to understand by " bones," the powers of 
the soul, whose opinion I do not condemn. But (as I 
have observed already) the powers or faculties of the 
soul, such as the understanding, the will, the reason, 
the memory, and the like, were signified in the former 
part of the verse, under, the term " weak." For grace, 
properly, (for which grace he prays in the words " have 
mercy "J strengthens the heart and its powers against 
that spiritual weakness ; for it is in the spirit that he 

Wherefore, " bones," ought here to be received as 
signifying, according to their grammatical meaning, the 
very bones themselves which are in the flesh of our 
bodies, and which, by this weakness and perturbation of 
spirit, are so vexed that they tremble, and have no 
strength whatever, and indeed are then no longer 
bones, nor are they able to support the body itself 
only. For thus we have it written, Isaiah xxxviii. 1 3, 
" As a lion so will he break all my bones." And this is 
what we sometimes find in them also who are brought 
to the point of death : where many tremble and are 
horribly wracked with straits and agonies. For God 
often works this tribulation in that state; where the 
man can no mote run to human comforts, and is forced 


to bear the hand of him that purifieth him. For it is 
necessary that sin should be destroyed in this manner, 
and be driven from us ; that we may love God above all 
things, and may burn with an unspeakable thirsting 
after him. And those earthly affections which are 
wrought by sin are beyond all comparison less and 
weaker than this thirst is of the man who thus seeks 
after God ; that is, his grace and mercy. 

Here, perhaps, I may seem to advance unheard-of 
and absurd things, in the estimation of those, who 
imagine that they Can find an easy way to heaven by 
their indulgences, their letters, or their works. And 
though I know that I cannot prove the truth of what I 
thus advance to the satisfaction of those who do not 
believe the words of the prophet ; yet, I will not, on 
their account, go from the words of the prophet. Let 
every one abide by his own understanding of the scrip- 
tures. I know what I say : and let them take heed that 
they fully know and understand what they say. — This is 
certain, that no one will come unto the mercy of God, 
but he who most cravingly hungers and thirsts after 
him; like him, who said, Psalm xlii. 1, "As the hart 
panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after 
thee, O God. My tears have been my meat day and 
night." And again, Psalm Ixiii. 11," My soul thirsteth 
for thee, my flesh longcth for thee, in a dry and thirsty 

Let no one ever think that a full and satisfied soul 
will be filled of (rod : he only " tills the hungry with 
good things." How much less then will he give eternal 
life to those who disdain it ; nay, who despise it in com- 
parison with the good things of this life. No ! lie will 
give it to those who most ardently, and with groan ings 
that cannot be uttered, seek after it, crave after it, and 
knock at the door for it. And, as we should not thus 
seek, crave, and know it otherwise, especially if we en- 
joyed a quiet life, God has set before us death and va- 
rious tribulations ; that, being pressed under these, we 
may be forced to seek tor mercy and life : as Job suith, 


chap. x. 1 2, " Then hast granted me life and favour, 
and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit." 

It is certain, therefore, that those who suffer this 
tribulation have their bones so vexed, that they cannot 
perform the office of bones* As, on the contrary, we 
see, that where the heart exults and is kept filled with 
joy, the bones are as it were strengthened, and are made 
ready to leap and to bear the heavy and filthy burden 
of the fle&h, and there is- nothing that they are not able 
to bear. So that the joy is felt through all the bones as 
a certain watering. As we have it in Proverbs iii. 8, 
" It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy 
bones/' Nay even a poet of old said, 

Through all his bones a chilling tremor ran. 

So that the affections of the mind penetrate through 
the body. Rightly, therefore, does David say, " O 
Lord, heal me :" because, he is so broken down, even in 
body, that his bones have lost all their strength. So 
great is the power of this tribulation, that there is not a 
comer in the frame or in the whole powers which it does 
not vex and weaf down. 

Ver. 3. — My soul also is sore vexed. 

In the next place, he complains that his " soul " is 
vexed : that is, the lower and inferior part of it ; that 
is, the sensible life. For when the spirit is vexed and the 
bone3 also, there is no part of the sensible frame that is 
not filled with borrow : so that now, there is nothing re- 
maining either in spirit, body, or soul, that is not 
possessed and filled with the most bitter sorrow and 
terror. The soul or life feels the attack of death, whiclj 
is the most distressing of all to the feelings, and the 
spirit feels hell, which is intolerable. And what this sen- 
sation of death and hell is, in this conflict and pertur- 
bation, is shown in the following part of the Psalm. — 
In the meantime, however, be it known, that, to those 
who are exercised under this tribulation, there is nothing 
in the whole creation so pleasant as to be able to give 


relief even to one hair of the head, nothing so sweet in 
sound as to be able to sooth the ear, nothing so delight- 
ful, either to eat, to drink, or to touch, that does not 
seem to be very bitterness. Death is in every thing that 
is either seen or touched. The man is most miserably 
wracked between life and death : he dreads death, and 
has not life. 

And I presume it is known to every one, that life 
or soul, and spirit, differ from each other, according to the 
scriptural usage of those terms : though philosophers 
will go according to their opinions. For by the Apostle, 
Thess. v. 83, we have it thus, " And the very God of 
peace sanctify you wholly : and I pray God your whole 
spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto 
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." Upon which 
points Origen and Hieronymus have disputed much in 
various parts of their works. But the Apostle prays, 
that they may be preserved separately and particularly, 
in spirit, soul, and body. And in the Evangelists, Mark 
xii. 30, we have " With all thy heart, and with all thy 
soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength/ 1 
But upon this we cannot enlarge farther here. 

But thou, O Lord, how long ? 

Here some understand a word : thus, " how long " 

* wilt thou refuse to deliver me/ or, i to strengthen 

me? ' and such a reading the pronoun u thou " favours, 

" And thou, () Lord, how long?" Under which same 

feelings David saith, Psalm xiii. J, " How long wilt 

thou forget me, () Lord? For ever? How long wilt 

thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take 

counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily ? " 

Where, he not only prays the Lord to hasten his help, 

but, being as it were impatient of delay, he complains 

of his distress on account of the delay : because, in 

every feeling of fear, love, hope, and hatred, &c. delay 

is always distressing and grievous-^ as 1'rov. xiii. IS, 

u Hope deferred niaketh the heart sick/* And under 

this sensation of death and hell, the deluy is above all 

the most distressing. For here that common saying 


is true 'One hour in hell, is longer than many years 
in this world.' 

In a word, human nature cannot bear to endure 
this tribulation even the shortest space of time ; nor 
does it suffer the whole of it at all, it only tastes a cer- 
tain few drops of it : as, on the other hand, it is said of 
those who are under the experience of the heavenly 
feelings, that they scarcely taste one drop, because this 
life cannot bear ail the riches of the pleasures of that life 
to. come. And indeed, when either of these feelings or 
sensations exceeds the common measure, the man thinks 
that his soul will leave the body, unless a miracle of di- 
vine power prevent Wherefore, in .these words, "And 
thou, O Lord, how long ? " is particularly indicated, that 
unutterable groan of the Spirit which the man under 
these feelings breathes forth. 

' Ver. 4. — Return, O Lord, and deliver my soul, oh 
save me for thy mercy sake. 

He again indicates in this verse, that his soul is lost, 
and that he himself is damned, (for these are his feelings 
in the hour of this excess,) when he prays, that his soul 
might be saved ; that is, from the death that presses 
upon him ; and that he might be delivered from the hell 
that now with open mouth is ready to swallow him up. 
And Psalm ix. 13, "Thou that liftest me up from the 
gates of death.'* And again Hezekiah saith, Isa. xxxviii. 
10, " I shall go to the gates of hell." 

And the Psalmist also beautifully shows the power 
of hope while he sets nothing before his eyes* but the 
mercy of God : saying, " For thy mercy's sake." As if 
he. had said, not for my merits, for I have none ; as is 
sufficiently manifest from this my terror at thine anger, 
from my perturbation of heart, and from the vexation of 
my bones and of my soul : therefore, save me for thy 
mercy's sake : that the glory and praise of thy mercy 
may be exalted in my salvation unto all eternity. For 
though. I be unworthy of being delivered and saved, yet 
thou art worthy of being praised, glorified, and loved, to 
all eternity : and yet, thou canst not be praised, nor can 


thy mercy l>c glorified, unless there l>e some whom thou 
shalt save from death and deliver from hell. 

Thus Manasseh, king of Judah, in his prayer, says, 
1 For thou shalt save me according to thy great mercy, 
and I will praise thee always all the days of my life ; for 
all the powers of heaven praise thee/ Heboid in this 
way does God render his mercy most lovely, most sweet, 
and most desirable to be sighed after. And this is how 
it ought to appear unto us, (as it is eternal and of a ma- 
jesty so great,) while he is bringing upon us those evils 
and temptations which we have deserved. Hut, as to 
those whom he does not try with these temptations, 
what wonder is it if such should look upon the mercy of 
God as a thing of no value, and nauseate the heavenly 

And here at one blow, and in one moment perishes 
all the prating of those who talk about meriting grace 
by works of congruity, and gaining heaven by works 
of condignity; and who, by an incredible madness, 
prepare to meet the intolerable judgment of God, 
by the works of their own righteousness. And there- 
fore David, at the end of this Psalm, attacks such 
with a fiery zeal of spirit, inveighing against them in 
words addressed especially to them; saying, " Depart 
from me, all ye workers of iniquity. M So that this truth 
stands firm and certain — "(> save me for thv merev's 
sake : " for my iniquity is found to be unto death and 
hell, my righteousness is all vanished, my strength has 
failed, and my merit has come to nought. Hloscd man 
that I shall be, if I be but allowed to breathe unto, and 
rest in, thy mercy ! 

Here therefore, we are taught, that as we ought not 
to presume at all concerning ourselves, so, we ought not 
by any means to despair of the mercy of God ; but 
ought, how unworthy soever we may be, to call upon 
that mercy to save us from the power of death and hell. 
For what sins or what evils can there l>e so great, that 
they should lead thee to despair, when thou hearcst 
from this scripture, that no one ought to be led to de- 
spair when under the feelings of death and hell, where 


tjheve must of necessity be the greatest of all sins and 

Ver. 5. — For in death who shall remember thee? and 
in the grave who shall give thee thanks? 

Here David plainly opens up to us the experience 
and feelings contained in the whole Psalm ; where he 
confesses that he feels death and hell. For he does not 
speak these things like the sophists, (who have the audacity 
to divine and imagine any thing,) as being iqgfters of 
which he in reality knew nothing, but he speaks from 
what he himself experiences, and paints forth the whole 
just as he himself feels it. " Save me," saith he, that I 
may proclaim thy mercy to all eternity : and rebuke me 
not in this thy anger, for therein there is nothing but 
death and hell and no remembrance nor praise of thee. 
For here, that of Proverbs xvi. 14, is found to be true, 
"The wrath of the king is as messengers of death." 
And hence, Hezekiah saith, Isa. xxxviii. 19, 20, " The 
living, the living he shall praise thee as I do this day. For 
the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee : 
they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy 
truth." And Psalm cxv. 17, "The dead praise not the 
Lord, neither any that go down into hell." And we find 
these feelings set forth in many other places in the 

What then is this being in death and hell ? — It is, 
first of all, to be in an eternal forgetfulness and oblivion 
of God; and next to be in eternal blasphemy. For 
here the care for the love of self reigns with a most 
powerful and most confused concern: and therefore, it 
is impossible for such to have the mercy of God before 
their eyes. They seek refuge and escape, and find none ; 
and then, they are presently involved in a most burning 
hatred of God. They first of all desire that there were 
another God, and then that they themselves had no 
existence : and thus, they blaspheme his divine Majesty. 
They wish (as I said) with all their heart, that no such ma- 
jesty existed ; and, if they could, they would destroy his 


existence : and this fleeing from, and this hatred against 
God, are eternal. And thus, that scripture of Psalm i. 
is fulfilled, " For the ungodly are like the chart* which 
the wind scattereth away : " Uiat is, they are ever fleeing, 
but never escape. 

But, here, some Mill open their mouths with this 
objection, What then mean those words so often found 
in the scriptures, 4 There is no redemption in hell? 9 
For, according to this, it appears, that the pains of hell 
can happen to none but to the damned? — I answer, 
though I do not remember that I have read these words 
in the holy scriptures, yet they seem to be taken out of 
this verse of this Psalm, and also out of other like places 
of the scriptures. But such scriptures are not under- 
stood by these carnal ones, nor by any unexperienced 
theologians. — As though no one could taste of hell, 
because there is no redemption from hell ! According V> 
the same argument, then, we might say, that Paul never 
tasted heavenly things, because the blessedness of heaven 
can never be lost, and sin can never be felt there, 
because it is forgiven. 

Wherefore, it is true that in the present conflict and 
agony, nothing is present in the feelings but hell, without 
any prospect of redemption, for all that is felt, seems as 
if it would be eternal. For the anuer of a mortal man 
when felt, is attended with the ho|>e that it will have an 
end; but no hope accompanies this ani^er of an eternal 
God, nor any expectation of its coming to an end. 
1 Rebuke me not, O Lord, in thine anger/ saith David: 
but, to be brought under the mortal anger of a mortal 
man, is nothing. 

And, indeed, all that takes place in hell takes place 
in the soul: even the hatred and blasphemy are almost 
the same. " But love is strong as death, and jealousy 
hard as hell : " and therefore, the man that is under this 
temptation, prevails in the praising of (iod. Love, 
however, most severely, sharply, and vehemently wrestles 
against hatred, hope against despair, mercy against wrath, 
praise against blasphemy, perseverence against flight, 


and, in a word, heaven against bell, to the unspeakable 
torture of the soul . 

But why do we spend words in vain, when we can 
effect nothing by thousands of words? because, nothing 
can give a man a judgment in, and an understanding 
and comprehension of this tribulation, but the feeling 
sensation and experience of it. Though every one, if 
he be not devoid of all feeling and callous in heart and 
conscience, when he hears these things, must say, that 
there is a something signified by these words, which he 
does not yet know r and it is terrible to be brought to 
the knowledge of it. 

Ver. 6. — J am weary with my groaning, every night 
will I wash my bed, and water my couch with my tears. 

This verse may be arranged in the translation two 
nays: either by making the words "I am weary" to 
9tand alone : or by joining them to, " with my groaning." 
And though the former order is the most generally used, 
yet we will upon the present occasion pass it by, and 
confine ourselves to the latter: by doing which, as I 
think, we shall more properly preserve the repetition 
which the passage contains. So that, washing the bed 
under sighing ana groaning, will be the same as watering 
die couch with tears : thus taking together the sighs and 
groans with the tears, the washing with the watering, 
and the bed with the couch. 

In the Hebrew it is, ' I will make my bed to swim ; 
and water my couch/ And here, the question may justly 
be asked, how any man should have so many tears? 
Augustine, after his manner, has here recourse to a 
mystical understanding of the passage; in which, he is 
followed by many others. We, however, will understand 
"bed" and " couch" according to their plain gram- 
matical signification, as being those places whereon men, 
according to the common usage, recline for the night. 
And we will understand the groans and tears as spoken 
of hyperbolically or comparatively, when they ye said 
X0 wash and water the couch. For it was never, nor in 


*ny place, beeid that any one taint ever ihed so many 
tears, in one night even, much leas every night, as to 
water his conch; to say nothing about its being made to 

But we will understand the hyperbole or the com- 
parative expression thus,— as applying only to the act or 
state of crying itself. But as the words of the Spirit am 
always to be understood in the Spirit, there will be no 
hyperbole at all, if you consider the affection of mind 
in the person who experiences these things : for then, 
this wiU signify, not what the person could really do, 
but what he wished and desired to do. For so theifam 
then say of Mary Magdalene, that she did not speak 
according to her natural bodily stre n gth , when she said 
to the gardener, John xx. 15, "Sir, n thou have borne 
hilhiWftj teU m* where thou hast laid him, and J prill 
take bipt away." For all things are considered possibfe 
in,tWjMuMi of those who believe, hope, and 1« m* 
Sippg, Jfaerenre, God weigbeth the spirits, and not tta 
works, and does not look at the external appearance of 
the works* but at the reins and hearts of men, David 
s^^Pte words without any hyperbolical or comparer 
tivpffignre at all ; nay, he speaks from his heart, when. 
he says, that he would wash his couch with his sighs 
and tears. And though he cannot really do this, yet, 
because his wish is so ardent, that which he would do is 
accounted done before God. Hence we shall do rightly 
if we understand the passage in an optative sense, 
thug ; ' O I wish I had so many tears that I could every 
nigbt make my bed to swim/ As Jeremiah saith, ix. 1, 
"Oh that my head were, waters, and mine eyes a foun- 
tain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the 
slain of the daughter of my people." 

This verse therefore is another testimony of the ter- 
ribleness of the agony when conflicting with death and 
hell, The man wishes to do impossibilities, that he 
might be delivered from it And hence, I can easily 
befievctlhe accounts of those who have said, that many 
scjufc pqder these agonies have confessed, that they 
would rather endure toe greatest punishmepts that could 



be inflicted by men in this life, even unto the day of 
judgment, than to suffer these things in their reality for 
the shortest space of time. 

And this is more particularly confirmed by the repe- 
tition contained in the passage ; which, as I have said 
before, is always a strengthening confirmation: and 
thereby is confirmed also the all-serious truth of this ex- 
perience. See therefore with what proofs he sets forth 
the cross of this most miserable conflict, and how he 
would prefer suffering any evil of the world to this under 
which he says he could weep with so many tears. What 
then is there left in the world that can give any delight 
or ease to such an one ? 

u I am weary," saith David. A most appropriate 
word this for the present description ; signifying, that he 
was in the utmost anxiety and difficulty. For so Isaiah 
liii. 4, " He hath borne our griefs :" that is, he was most 
distressed: as Christ himself saith, Matt. xxvi. 38, "My 
soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." — The rest 
I leave to practice and experience. 

Ver. 7. — Mine eye is consumed because of anger : I 
have waxed old among all mine enemies. 

Reuchlin renders the passage thus, ' My visage is 
worm-eaten from anger :'* wishing, by * worm-eaten,' to 
signify corroded, as a garment is eaten and consumed 
by a moth. But the sense is the same as that of our 
translator. For the prophet means to say, that the 
power and effects of this conflict are so great, that it 
alters the appearance of the whole man. And no won- 
der David should say that he was become pale and 
worn by it, when it consumes the bones and the blood. 
And indeed, any sorrow or grief alters and wears the 
appearance and the countenance of a man : but the 
alteration which other troubles make by degrees, this 
conflict produces in a very short time. We have read 
of many who have become grey on a sudden through 
trouble and grief: how much more then shall men be 
so altered, and decay, and waste into an old age state 
by this conflict? We have the same thing, Psalm xtfxix. 


10, 1 1 : u Remove thy stroke away from me : I am con- 
sumed by the blow of Ay hand. When thou with re- 
bakes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his 
beauty to consume away like a moth." In the Hebrew 
it is, ' Thou hast made his comely parts like a moth :' 
that is, his face, or his visage, or appearance. And in 
the same way Reuchlin has here rendered this passage, 
* My visage is worm-eaten, or moth-eaten. 9 For the 
face is the part wherein man's comeliness consists. Fi- 
nally, we have the same words, Psalm xxxi. 9 : " Mine 
•ye is consumed with grief/' which we find in the pre- 
sent verse. 

By « eye," therefore, he means visage or appearance : 
for the same word in the Hebrew signifies eye, and ap- 
pearance. So that the sense is, " Mine eye is con- 
samed :" that is, I am suddenly changed in my whole 
body, and am become deformed. And these are the 
effects which this " anger " produces. He does not say 
my anger : but the won! anger is put alone ; that is, it 
is the very tribulation itself of death and hell. And 
thus also the apostle often expresses it by wrath, or 
death, or hell, only: as Rom. v. 0, " Much more being 
reconciled, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 1 ' 

And that which follows is the same. " I have 
waxed old among all mine enemies." Which is much 
better in the Hebrew : where we have it, " Among all 
my tribulations." Which is the same as if he had said, 
' I have straits on all sides : all things cause me tribula- 
tion : the whole creation is against me : I have no 
place to flee unto : and therefore I grow old, before my 
day, under the weight of my anxiety, and my whole 
appearance is changed.' 

The present verse shews also another powerful cause 
of this misery; which is, that, in addition to being 
alarmed and terrified by the anger of God, he can liod 
consolation in no creature, but whatever he looks at 
seems to be against him. For the whole creation acts 
with its Creator ; and especially when a man's own con- 
science is opposed to God : and therefore* every thing 
anmnd is wrath; every thing increases the tribulation,; 



all things around are enemies. And this is more parti- 
cularly shewn in his saying, not merely " my enemies," 
but, " among all my enemies :" that is, among all those 
Who are mine enemies : for I am in that place and 
state, that no-body and no-thing agrees with my sensa- 
tions : as Job saith, chap. ix. " No one will take upon 
him to answer for me." 

And it is my belief also that David, under the exer- 
cise of these tribulations, was brought to that state, that, 
toward the end of his life, he was very much weakened, 
and so cold continually, that he could not keep himself 
warm with many garments : as we have it recorded 
1 King&i. 1, 2, 3. For, as I have said, this wrath con- 
sumes and withers all things. — Thus, then, have we this 
terrible temptation described with all its attendant signs, 
feelings, counsels, and thoughts. — Now follows the con- 
solation, and the bringing back and deliverance from 

this death and hell. 


Ver. 8. — Depart from me, all ye that work iniquity, 
for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping. 

Now, I ask you, why he thus indignandy rejects 
from him these workers of iniquity in particular and 
above all others? For we have said, Psalm v. 5, that 
Tpoela aven signifies those who are of the religion of 
disobedience, of self-righteousness, and of spiritual idol- 
atry. And these he commands to depart from him. 
Whereas before, he had made no complaint about these 
in this psalm, but had been complaining only of the 
wrath and fiiry of God. What then have these workers 
of iniquity to do with the fury of the Lord ? and espe- 
cially, when such, being most secure, and presuming 
every thing against God, could not at all interfere with 
him in the temptation of which he is complaining in 
this psalm ? And, to increase the apparent absurdity, he 
therefore commands them to depart, because the Lord had 
heard the voice of his weeping. Did then these workers 
of iniquity prevent the Lord from hearing him before ? 
— We will here observe, then, that the whole of this lies 
in the feelings of David, and those are the most powerful 


and exalted : and therefore, he does not describe why 
he does it, but what he does. And thus, we see those 
who are carried along with any powerful feelings, often 
talk to themselves, act as apparent madmen, and say 
strange things ; but we are ignorant of the cause why 
they say those things. — Let us, then, enter into the feel- 
ings and experience contained in these words. 

I see this to be particularly worthy of remark 
throughout the Psalms, that, whenever the prophet 
speaks under any peculiar ecstacy, he immediately adds 
a word addressed to the adversaries full of indignation 
and complaint fcgainst them: as in these passages; 
Psalm cxvi. 10, 1 1, " I believed, therefore have I spoken : 
I was greatly afflicted. I said in my excess, All men are 
liars/' And Psalm xxxix. 11," Thou makest his beauty 
to consume away like a moth : surely every man is va- 
nity." But we see in human affairs also, that those who 
meet with oppression experience something of the same. 
This, however, is universally the case, — that when any 
one apprehends the truth in the experience of it, he is 
soon led to inveigh with indignation and complaint 
against those who savour of, or teach the contrary. 

We have a striking example of this in Augustine, 
who, book ix. of his Confessions, in his exposition of 
Psalm iv. inveighs with impetuous zeal against the Ma- 
nichees during the exposition. And the great art of all 
exposition is so to teach the subject in question, as to root 
out at the same time all that is contrary to it, and launch 
out against the adversaries : for how can we, when we 
are teaching right and true piety, refrain from inveighing 
at the same time against ceremonial is ts and crafty 
workers of the Word, while we feel an indignation that 
they did not know the truth that we teach, or that they 
once taught us the contrary? 

And hence David also did the same, when he had 
been taught by this his ecstacy and particular experi- 
ence, to trust in God alone, and to feel and know that 
no righteousness of his own would avail. For he knew 
that those, who had not been instructed by these tempta- 
tions, taught and did foolish and impious things under 


tit* garb of piety, and were wholly unexperienced in 
diese things when they happened to come upon them.: 
and yet, such are ready to teach the whole world, (for 
men of this stamp always act thus, who are the most 
foolish when most wise, and the most wise when most 
foolish,) becoming bKnd leaders of the blind ; 4t always 
learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of 
the truth :" and, which is the greatest evil of all, such 
are unteachable, unpersuadable, incorrigible: Nay, like 
as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these re- 
sist those who have attained unto this sound wisdom 
through the experience of great temptations, and with- 
stand them continually with impudent temerity; by such, 
therefore, the godly man is afflicted with tribulation 
upon tribulation. Hence it is that David, from a zeal 
of love, whereby he desires that the truth may be known 
to all in common with himself, and that the contrary 
error may be exposed and condemned, inveighs against 
such characters with the most just indignation, saying, 
" Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity." In a 
word, we shall scarcely find a psalm, which contains a 
complaint of this kind, wherein the psalmist does not 
accuse and condemn these workers of iniquity: and this 
we shall see as we proceed. 

The whole, therefore, lies in the particular feelings 
of the psalmist, — that he therefore commands them to 
f depart/' because the Lord had heard him. And what 
the < cause for his so doing is, he leaves us to unclear* 
stand from what has preceded ; that is, his knowing 
and experiencing, that God saves those who cry unto 
him for his own mercy' sake only: before whom no 
one is righteous, (as Moses saith, Deut. xxxiv.) no one is 
guiltless in himself. As these things are so, therefore, 
(and he has declared that they are so throughout the 
whole psalm,) he rightly concludes, and says, that he 
will not know those who savour of, and teach the con- 
trary ; and that it is enough for him to know, that ' the 
Lord has heard the voice of his weeping,' &c. And to 
this same point refers also that of Matt. vii. 23, where 
the Lord declares, that he will say to thos^ that have 


prophesied in his name, and in it done many wonderful 
works, " Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity." 
For the Lord referred to these words as applying, ac- 
cording to the general sense of this psalm, to all those 
who trust in themselves, and not in his mere mercy. 

Ver. 9* — The Lord hath heard my supplication : the 
Lord hath received my prayer. 

He had said before, in a general way, " the voice 
of my weeping." He now defines the particular nature 
of that voice of weeping, and shews what it was. And 
it is observable also, that he here repeats the name of 
the Lord three times : " The Lord hath heard," " The 
Lord hath heard," " The Lord hath received :" to sig- 
nify thereby his feeling of confidence and his confirma- 
tion of hope against those adversaries whom he here 
attacks. • 

The word in the Hebrew which is rendered u sup- 
plication," is a word which signifies, properly, imploring 
mercy or grace : so that it answers to the former word, 
" Have mercy upon me, () Lord," and to that which 
follows : whereby (as we have said) grace or power was 
implored. And the latter word, " prayer," signifies, in 
the Hebrew, a praying against evil : and therefore an- 
swers to the words, " O Lord, in thy fury," &c. Unless 
any one would rather understand the whole as signifying 
a repetition that betokens a confirmation and exaltation 
of the affections. 

These are the words of hoj>e, raising up and ex- 
horting the conscience, and now prevailing over all the 
surrounding difficulties. In the same way as the pre- 
ceding words were those of hope suffering, labouring, 
and almost yielding. Wherein we sec those things which 
were spoken of, Psalm v. not only taught, hut experi- 
enced: those things, I mean, which are contained in 
the words, " And all they that hof>c in thee shall re- 
joice." — The words themselves plainly shew the pro- 
phet's state of mind and feelings : under which, he has 
before his eyes the mercy of (iotl, which he sets against 
the disturbing views of sin, death, and hell. For, as it 


is certain that he speaks in hope and in the Spirit, yea, 
in the presence of God, and in the enjoyment of the 
present vision ; it is also certain, that he was saved by 
hope, that he attained unto the grace of the power of 
God by hope, and that he was consoled by hope : and 
all these things shew the way in which he drove away 
the distressing crowd of these evils. And this is the 
reason why he impresses upon himself the mercy of 
God in so many repetitions ; which are, as it were, so 
many strong and heavy blows with which he follows up 
his adversaries and all the things that are against him, 
and so many powerful words whereby he exhorts and 
encourages his own infirmity and hope. 

Hence, (according to the instructions given us by 
this our teacher,) when heaviness or sin distresses our 
conscience, we are to be active, and not to snore asleep, 
nor to yield. Nor are we to wait until the tribulation 
goes off of its own accord, nor until the consolation it- 
self comes unto us : for all these things are those that 
accompany perdition. But we are to fight, to cry again 
and again, to strive with all our might, until we are as- 
sured of the good will of God toward us : according to 
that of Psalm iii. 3, " But thou, O Lord, art a shield 
for me, my glory, and the lifter up of my head." And 
Psalm xxx. 5, complaining of the like tribulation, he 
strengthens himself in the good opinion of God con- 
cerning him ; saying, " For his anger endureth but for 
a moment : in his favour is life." For unless this me- 
ditation and this confidence should rise up and over- 
come the tribulation, there is no one that could stand. 
But these are not attained unto, and we arrive not at 
establishment in them, but by the word of God and 
Jesus Christ. 

And so also here, when as yet he knew not that his 
weeping was heard, yet, he conceives and strengthens 
himself in this persuasion, repeating and maintaining it 
so as to attack his adversaries ; being fully persuaded, 
that such as he assures himself he is in the sight of God, 
such he is. Such therefore, as his hope is, such is his 
state in reality : for in these matters also the man is ruled 


by opinions : but they are opinions of God, (that is, 
concerning God :) and the difference lies here, whether 
those opinions be good or bad. 

Ver. 10. — Let all my enemies be ashamed and sore 
vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly. 

This verse may perhaps be understood as applying 
to persecutors, because he calls them his " enemies." 
But, that these last words may agree with the preceding, 
let us understand these " enemies " to be none other, than 
the poele aven themselves, "the workers of iniquity." 
For we have observed, that in every Psalm where this 
tribulation' is described, the spirit of the prophet inveighs 
against those characters also : for, as I have said, there 
is a continual war and contention with these ungodly 
ones ; because they not only will not hear of this hu- 
mility of the godly, and this commendation of the grace 
of God, but even persecute it : as it is said, Psalm cix. 
16, " But persecuted the poor and needy man, that he 
might even slay the broken in heart/' And Psalm lxix. 
26, " They talk to the grief of them whom thou hast 
wounded. ' These are they, who, like Job's friends, talk 
to the increasing of those tribulations whieh are justly 
inflicted of God ; and who set themselves against such 
afflicted ones as standing on the side of God, and pro- 
nounce that God is justfy angry with them and become 
their enemy : while they themselves are most secure as 
to their thoughts about God, as if they should escape his 

Since, therefore, all these things when spoken to 
these impious ones, are like a story told to one that is 
deaf, (for they cannot understand the things of the Spirit 
by reason of their carnal senses, or their inflated pride,) 
the prophet prays for a speedy and sudden destruction 
and subversion of their iniquity : which is, that they 
themselves might be overtaken by this kind of temp- 
tation, that they might feel the wrath of God, and the 
tribulation of death and hell : as Jeremiah also saith, 
chap. xvii. 1 8, " Let them be confounded that persecute 
me, but let not me be confounded : let them be dismayed, 


but let not me be dismayed." And in the verse preceding, 
he says, " Be not a terror unto me : thou art my hope 
in the day of evil." And Psalm ix. " Let the wicked be 
turned into hell, and all the people that forget God. 
Put them in fear, O Lord, that the nations may know 
themselves to be but men," (that is, vain and liars.) " For 
the law worketh wrath," as Paul saith, Rom. iv. 15, be- 
cause it refvealeth sin, by which the conscience is con- 
founded ; and when the conscience is confounded, it is 
distressed and put in perturbation by wrath and death, 
which the soul sees that it deserves by the law revealing 
them. And this excess, when men falji into it sud- 
denly and terribly vexes and confounds and disturbs the 
proud, bringing them to nothing, and forcing them to 
lay aside all supercilious conceit of their own righteous- 
ness, and to seek the mercy of God. And if these cha- 
racters of which we are now speaking have not proved 
these things in their own feelings and by their own ex- 
perience, they will read, hear. of them, and do all that 
they do, in vain. For it is vexation and tribulation, (as 
Isaiah shows, chap, xxviii.) which alone give under- 
standing to the hearer : that is, the Word of God 
becomes intelligible unto them only who have felt what 
it contains, and who have been well exercised and vexed 
with tribulations. The cross of Christ is the only way 
of instruction in the Word of God, and the only true 
theology ! 

These words "sore" and " suddenly," however, may 
be understood two ways. They may be referred either 
to the time or to the kind of temptation. Their meaning 
with reference to the time of the temptation is this ; — 
that such may not be long left thus, but that they may 
be vexed suddenly, in order that being quickly turned 
from their iniquity they may thirst after the mercy of 
God. But when referred to the kind of temptation it 
means this; — that they may not be vexed with any 
tight tribulation, but with the storm of this greatest and 
most severe vexation ; the force and nature of which are 
to be most powerful ; and therefore, it most powerfully 
humbles and instructs unto grace. For the sehf-wisdom 


and self-righteousness of these workers of iniquity render 
them so obstinate and stubborn, that if they be touched 
with certain light temptations only, they glory in them 
without any fear, and, in the midst of these tribulations, 
think themselves to be sincere and true martyrs : so per- 
tinaciously do these ravening wolves imitate sheep's 
clothing. Hence, they become hardened and confirmed 
in their ungodliness by those very temptations whereby 
they are visited that they may be amended. 

But they cannot stand before the face of this frost, 
when they are vexed with the confusion of sins and the 
wrath of God. This is the vexation which subverts the 
securely impious; and in which none persevere but sin- 
cere and upright hearts, who are rightly instructed in the 
fear of God and in hope. Wherefore, as the enduring of 
the wrath of God is impossible, so it is most especially 
necessary for these unbelieving and insensible ones, as 
being that alone which is sufficiently powerful to humble 
them effectually. 

It was with such a visitation as this that St. Paul 
was overtaken, which came upon him immediately from 
heaven, when he was filled with the most secure violence 
and impetuously perverted zeal : for being on a sudden 
surrounded with a light, and all trembling, he said, Acts 
ix. 6, " Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' And here- 
in is proved that word of Jeremiah, chap, xxiii. 529, " Is 
not my Word like a6 fire ? saith the Lord : and like a 
hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces ? " And Psalm 
xxi. 9, " Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the 
time of thine anger : the Lord shall swallow them up in 
his wrath, and the tire &hall devour them." David 
would not have said these things if he had not expe- 
rienced them. For this " oven " and this " lire," are the 
1 rebuking in fury ' and the ' correcting in anger/ which 
drive guilty consciences into inextricable and inevitable 
straits, by setting before them a view and feeling sense 
of the judgment of God. 

In this verse, moreover, he compares together, or 
rather sets forth in other words, the fury and anger of 
the Lord. For to be ' rebuked in the Lord's fury ' is no- 


thing else than, for the conscience of a man to be 
ashamed, to be confounded, and to be found guilty, be- 
fore the eternal judgment. And there is no man whose 
conscience is not found guilty before that judgment : as 
it is said, Psalm cxliii. 2, " Enter not into judgment 
with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy sight shall no man 
living be justified.** And what is it not to be justified, 
but to be found guilty and to be confounded ? And again 
saith David, Psalm cxvi. 11, "I said in my excess, All 
men are liars." — Therefore he desires for all these insen- 
sible ones who still securely glory in themselves, that 
they may be brought to this, and may be confounded. 
" Let thine hand (says he in another place) find out all 
thine enemies : and thy right hand shall find out those 
that hate thee." And again, Psalm lxxxiii. 16, " Fill 
their faces with shame ; that they may seek thy name, 
O Lord." 

For, as I have often said, the ungodly differ from 
the godly in this. They are both, indeed, liars and un- 
justified before God, and are both vanity of vanities. 
But, this tribulation turns the godly to a knowledge of 
themselves ; and, having attained unto this knowledge, 
they flee from the fury of the judgment of God unto his 
mercy, and are saved. As it is said, Proverbs xii. 7, 
"Turn away the wicked and they shall not be." Which 
some have understood thus, " turn away " that is, unto a 
knowledge of themselves; and when they have been 
thus humbled they will cease to b^ ungodly, having thus 
obtained grace. But, when such are turned away, they 
do not come to a knowledge of themselves, and there- 
fore do not seek for grace, but remain in their vanity, 
lies, and iniquity. 

And again, 'to be corrected in anger' is nothing else 
than to be " sore vexed," as David says : that is, to be 
under a conflict with death and hell. And when this 
anger is kindled, yea, but a little, (as David saith, 
Psalm ii. 12,) " Blessed are all they that put their trust 
in him." But this the wicked do not. For in the same 
Psalm he sets forth two evils : where he saith, verse 5, 
"Then shall he speak unto them in hie wrath (that is, 

I .11 ^1 k 


shall rebuke and convict) and vex them in his sore dis- 
pleasure/' (that is, shall correct and chastise them.) 
And 1 Sam. il 10, it is written, " The adversaries of the 
Lord shall be broken in pieces : out of heaven shall he 
thunder upon them." And we have many other like 
passages in the scriptures wherein this powerful confu- 
sion and vexation of heart are described, both as they 
are experienced in the hearts of the saints, and as they 
are foretold to await all the wicked : by which, the 
former being humbled are comforted and raised up, but 
the latter. when humbled are only afflicted more and 
overwhelmed. David says this, therefore, as wishing all 
men to be saved, and that none should perish. 

There is, moreover, in the Hebrew, a beautiful allusion 
contained in these two verbs " return " and " ashamed," 
which the Latin language is not capable of rendering. 
For in this passage we have by a change of letters 
jasobu for j£SOBU : and David repeats the word je- 
sobu, (" let them be put to shame,") from a 
of feeling : desiring that those things which he 
suffers may be turned upon his adversaries, that they 
also may cease to be proud and to persecute the hum- 
bled. As we have it also, Psalm liv. 5, " He shall turn 
the evils upon mine enemies/' And Proverbs xi. 8, 
u The righteous is delivered out of trouble and the 
wicked cometh in his stead/' And Psalm xxxii. 10, 
"Many sorrows shall be to the wicked, but he that 
trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about." 
And in the same way also he prays, Psalm lxxix. 5, 6, 
that the anger of the Lord may be turned from him 
upon his enemies : saying, " How long, O Lord, wilt 
thou be angry, for ever ? shall thy jealousy burn like 
fire? pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have 
not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not 
called upon thy name." And sto also, be prays in this 
Psalm, that he might not be rebuked by the fury of the 
Lord, but that they might feel this rebuke who call not 
upon him nor fear his wrath. 

And we have observed, that the enemies of the 
godly are more especially those who are called " workers 


of iniquity/' advisers to a presumptuously secure heart, 
and to an ignorant faith and hope in God ; and there- 
fore, the godly have a continual warfare with these : but 
which warfare they would not have, if they should at 
some time be vexed with this kind of tribulation them- 

But if any one chooses rather by " workers of ini- 
quity" to understand devils, who, in this hour of tempta- 
tion fearfully assault the godly, and urge and drive them 
on to desperation, setting before their eyes good works, 
and telling them that if they do these they will have no 
reason to despair, and thus confirming desperation by 
presumption, and presumption by desperation, and all 
the while entangling their souls in these trammels of 
iniquity, that they might not worship God in true godli- 
ness of faith arid hope : — if any one, I say, wishes to 
understand the passage thus, I will not oppose it : for 
devils are certainly the most crafty persuaders of souls 
to disobedience under a show of obedience : because it 
is peculiar to them to transform themselves into angels 
of light, and then more especially when they least ought 
to do it ; that is, in the time of tribulation. — I believe 
however that the prophet speaks against those men who 
are the enemies of true godliness : that is, those who 
cannot endure the knowing or being told, that their ig- 
norant wisdom will drag thousands together with them- 
selves into hell. 



Many have spent a deal of labour and toil upon 
this Psalm in order to shew what the scope of it is, and 
what the title indicates ; and the matter still remains as 


much as ever in dispute. We, in the mean time, will 
follow Burgensis, who seems to me to come nearer to the 
true point than any other ; when he judges, that the 
Psalm is not to be understood of Saul, but of Shemei. 
And that we may see the propriety of thus understand- 
ing it, let us cite the words of the history recorded, 
fi Sam. xvi. 5, "And when king David came to Bahurim, 
behold thence came out a man of the family of the 
house of Saul, whose name was Shemei, the son of 
Gera : he came forth and cursed still as he came. And 
he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king 
David: and all the people, and all the mighty men, 
were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said 
Shemei when ne cursed, " Come out, come out, thou 
bloody man, and thou man of Belial : the Lord hath re- 
turned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul in 
whose stead thou hast reimed : and the Lord hath de- 
livered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son ; 
and behold thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou 
art a bloody man." — And when the servants of David 
wanted to kill Shemei, David said, " Let him alone, and 
let him curse, for God hath bidden him." And who is 
there that could dare to give the reason why David said 
so ? " Behold, (says he) my son which came forth of my 
bowels seeketh my life ! how much more now may this 
Benjamite curse me ? " 

It is evident, therefore, that he calls this cursing 
Shemei, in the title, the son of Jemini. And therefore, 
we have here also at the same time the words, upon the 
account of which he sung this Psalm ; namely, on ac- 
count of the curses of Shemei, by which, as a most bitter 
and persevering calumniator, he loaded him with false 
accusations. For we do not find in the history of Saul 
that he vomited forth any such words as these against 
David. Hence it must of necessity follow, that it is con- 
cerning the dreadful injury done him by these words that 
David speaks : as the text of the Psalm itself will show. 
It now remains to be shown, why he particularly 
calls him Cush, which signifies an Ethiopian. Almost 
all commentators agree that this is a metaphor: be- 


cause, blackness always indicates a badness of character. 
As the poet of old also saith — 

Romans ! of this man beware ; 
He is a dark — black character ! 

Even as, on the other hand, we call him white who 
is sincere and upright, and of a candid heart, and who is 
.without any dark cast, (as the proverbial term goes.) 
Commentators suppose, therefore, that the proper name 
of the man was omitted by David, in the title, and that 
he made use of a new appellation suited to his heart and 
disposition. But if we do not admit this, we may con- 
sider that he had two names : which we frequently find 
in the sacred scriptures : as may be collected from the 
lineage of Christ, Matt. i. and Luke iii. : and as we find 
with respect to Zacharias the son of Jehoida, mentioned, 
Matt xxiii. 35. Still therefore, the same point remains — 
that, being silent about the name Shemei, he chose to call 
him by another name, " Ethiopian/' rather than Shemei, 
as being an appellation more suited of his bad and ma- 
licious nature. 

And now, if we receive these things, the ignorance 
here mentioned will discover itself of its own accord, 
and show what its meaning is. For as David was so far 
from acknowledging the justice of the curses of Shemei, 
as, even on his death bead, to command Solomon, 
1 Kings ii. 9, that he should ' bring down his (Shemei's) 
hoar head to the grave with blood,' as a revenge for the 
curses that he had received from him; it is manifest, 
that he (David) had confessed his innocency unto God ; 
and that this " ignorance " is nothing else but inno- 
cence : for that of which we are not conscious to our- 
selves, we may be rightly said not to know, or to be 
ignorant of. 

But, as it is wicked for any one to trust in his own 
thoughts, (according to Proverbs xxviii. 26, " He that 
trusteth in his own heart is a fool,") therefore, we are so 
to stand to this innocence of ours, as yet to fear the 
judgment of God, and not to glory in our innocence in 


a way of security: but we are first to give glory to God, 
and confess before him that hi3 judgment is one thing, and 
man's another : that thus, having received licence from 
him, we may profess our innocence before men, and yet 
not injure, but glorify, his judgment ; and this we learu 
by temptation. Thus therefore David, though he knew 
that false things were laid to his charge, (that is, as far 
as his conscience was concerned,) yet, as he knew also 
that God had bidden Shemei thus to curse him, he 
feared lest they were true and just in the sight of God 
also ; nor had he a sufficient confidence in his own con- 
science. In this same way also, the apostles had not 
sufficient confidence in themselves, when they heard that 
one of them should become the betrayer of their Lord. 
For such is the tender state of every godly man's con- 
science, that although innocent, he fears a sin where a 
sin is not. — Such is the case where there is the fear of 
the Lord, and a sense of the inscrutable depth of his 

Hence David, though innocent, yet fears that he was 
guilty of those things which were laid to his charge: 
and especially in this time of temptation, in which God 
seemed to favour the cause of his adversaries, and to 
strike him because of those things which are laid to his 
charge, though he knows nothing of them. And there- 
fore, though he is not conscious of any crime either to 
himself or before men, yet, fearing lest he should be 
guilty in heart, (for God searcheth the heart and trieth 
the reins,) he teaches us in this Psalm, that which is 
taught by the Apostle, l 2 Cor. x. 18, u For not he that 
commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord 

Wherefore, although this Psalm be written concern- 
ing David and his ignorance; yet, as this evil of 
calumny is very common and frequent in the world, we 
are to believe, that these things are written as a doc- 
trine applicable in general unto all of us : as Paul saith, 
Rom. xv. 4, u For whatsoever things were written 
aforetime were written for our learning, that we through 
patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." 
vol. i Jr. z 


And here we see what are and ought to be the mind 
and feelings of all those who would faithfully, and in the 
fear of God, bear and overcome calumny. For this kind 
of persecution David has here set forth to us in this 
seventh place or Psalm. He has in the preceding 
Psalms instructed us in those evils and temptations 
Vhereby we are purified from sin : and now, he would 
more perfectly instruct us in the perfect fear of God ;— 
that we may there fear that we have sinned where we 
really have not sinned ; and that we may be perfected 
in such a hatred of sin, and such a love of God, that we 
may be brought to fear as sins those sins of which we 
are ignorant, and which are indeed no sins at all. 

And to attain unto this perfection, we have need, not 
tif a persecuting Absalom whom we know for certain 
persecutes us openly, but of a calumniating Shemei 
Whose curses we may fear as true, though we know our- 
selves innocent all the while. For we are not to be 
satisfied with this our innocence and rest in contented 
Security, but are to say with Job, chap, xxvii. 5, 6, 
" God forbid that I should justify you : till I die I will 
hot remove mine integrity from me. My righteousness I 
hold fast and will not let it go : my heart shall not re- 
proach me so long as I live." Thus, (as we have touched 
also upon these points, Psalm v.) we are before God, 
indeed, to confess our ignorance, who alone knows the 
hearts of men ; but before men, we are to hold fast our 
innocence, if our heart does not condemn us. For, as 
before God sins are not to be denied, before whom no 
man living is justified : so, before men, the truth is to 
be asserted and maintained, before whom, we can and 
ought to live without sin. David, therefore, having 
gotten this instruction by his own experience, imparts it 
unto us also. — He saith, therefore, 

Ver. 1 . — O Lord my God y in thee have I put my 
trust : save me from all them that persecute me and de- 
liver me. 

The first feeling and state of mind here set forth, is 
not that of a heated revenge and zeal against the calum- 


toiators and persecutors, as is the case with a man ot 
vanity and lies ; (for God saith, " vengeance is mine, I 
will repay ;") but we are first of all to flee unto God, and 
are to lay both our calumny and our persecution before 
him with that full hope and confidence, which innocence 
and a good conscience will, in such cases, afford us. 

Here then, you see, David prays to be saved frort 
all his persecutors : for there were two that persecuted 
him, Absalom with power and strength, and Shemrf 
with the scourge of the tongue and calumny : and with* 
out doubt the latter was not alone, or at least, he did 
not do this to please himself only : and therefore, David 
saith, " Save me from all them that persecute me/' with 
the same feelings as those under which he said, Psalm 
vi. 7, "I have waxed old among all mine enemies. 9 * 
Because, those who suffer violence and calumny togetlier, 
seem to have all things against them ; and it appears to 
them that there is not one left to help them ; as indeed 
all things do seem to one thus alone. And therefore he 
saith, " from all them that persecute me ;" that is, for I 
find all men and all things against me. 

And as to what difference there may be between 
" save me" and " deliver me," I do not think that of 
any consequence whatever ; unless we like to understand 
M save me " as referring to the good, and " deliver me " 
to the evil. But rather, the whole is to be understood 
as a repetition, and indicative of the power of his 

This verse we may bring forward against those who 
do not believe that faith and hope ate necessary either 
for prayer, or for receiving the grace of God, or for 
receiving the benefit fas we term it) of the sacraments. 
For as the prophet prays to be saved or delivered, and 
as he glories that he hopes in the I^ord ; therefore, it is 
certain, that these things will follow unto those that be- 
lieve in, hope in, and love the Lord. And he says, 
moreover, " In thee have I hoped/ 1 not in myself, nor 
any man : of which things we have spoken more at large, 
Psalm v. 

2 « 


Ver. 3. — Lest he tear my soul like a lkm 9 rending it 
in pieces while there is none to deliver. 

Hieronymus translates the passage thus from the 
Hebrew, " Lest he seize my soul like a lion, and tear it, 
and there be none to deliver.' l Seize/ (says David) and 
f tear,' as a furious beast does ; which words he uses that 
we may not understand that any common kind of seizing 
Ss spoken of. And then, says he, " like a lion v " a most 
implacable beast : and " tear me in pieces." Tear what 
in pieces ? my house or my cattle ? no ! my soul ; that 
is, my life ; that life which my body has from my soul ; 
as we have shown from the preceding Psalm. 

All these things David magnifies with this power of 
language that -he may set forth his extreme necessity, 
and put it in its most alarming light, that he may be the 
sooner heard : or rather, that he may excite himself to a 
more ardent intentness of soul : for we must pray with 
earnestness and seriousness if we would ever be heard. 
It is not to be doubted, however, that David was at this 
time in that state, that he feared lest he should be seized 
by Absalom and Shemei as by roaring lions, and should 
be torn in pieces by them ; and knew, that therfe was no 
hope nor help for him but in God. In which situation 
also are all those who suffer violence and calumny. And 
such will well understand the sense and meaning of 
these words. 

Ver. 3. — O Lord my God, if I have done this: if 
there be iniquity in my hands ; 

Ver. 4. — If I have rewarded evil unto him that did 
me evil, J will justly depart empty from mine enemies. 

Here David enters upon the very subject of his 
Psalm, and, according to the title, speaks of the words of 
the Ethiopian, Shemei. — This calumniator had first cast 
in his teeth, that he was guilty of the blood of the house 
of Saul, where he said, " Come out, come out, thou 
bloody man, and thou man of Belial." And, in the se- 
cond place, that he had invaded his kingdom by violence. 
And that therefore, both these things had now come 


upon his own head. — That, first of all, his blood should 
be shed by his own son ; and that, in the next place, the 
kingdom should be transferred to him. Of both these 
things, therefore, David complains, and confesses himself 

The nature and experience of this second particular, 
therefore, * innocence,' he teaches us to understand in 
two ways, negatively and conditionally. — That we should 
maintain our confidence in an innocent conscience, as 
far as the sight of men is concerned ; and should yet 
fear our own secret sinfulness in the sight of the judg- 
ment of God. For the experience of each of these par- 
ticulars is set forth in these verses, in this manner, * O 
Lord my God, so far am I from having done this, so 
far are my hands from being guilty in this matter, so far 
am I from being the cause of the bloodshedding of Saul's 
family and of the loss of his kingdom, that I did not 
even return him and his evil for the evil which they did 
me, even when it was in my power to do it, when I 
caught him in the cave alone, (1 Sam. xxiv. 1 — 7,) and 
when I took away his spear out of his camp, 1 (1 Sam. 
xx vi. 5 — 25.) 

And moreover, says he, I have not only not rendered 
evil for evil, but have, on the contrary, rendered good 
for evil. And thus Saul himself testified, 1 Sam. xxiv. 
17, saying, "Thou art more righteous than I : for thou 
hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee 
evil." So far is it (says David) from possibility that 1 
can be a man of blood. But (says he) if there be any 
secret sin in me, in that I did not do these things faith- 
fully, and thou judgest me thus, on that account, I am 
ready before thee. Punish me as I deserve. " Let mine 
enemy persecute my soul and take it." 

And farther, the expression " iniquity" seems to re- 
fer to the latter accusation of Shemei, and " if I have 
done this " to the former. So that the meaning is, I have 
not committed any act of blood at all, with which he 
charges me. Nor is there any iniquity in my hands, as 
to my having gotten the kingdom : because I have done 


ao one any injury in this matter: for I did it, not by any 
temerity of ray own, but according to thy command. 

But the feeling grows more powerful where he im- 
precates so many evils upon himself if he had done any 
such thing, than it is where he merely says that he did it 
not. Whereby, we are taught to pray with an earnest 
heart agakist calumny ; but yet so, that we may testify 
our innocence, and yet at the same time* fear our secret 
skis a&d the inscrutable judgment of God, being pre- 
pared to suffer any evils if we shall by him be found 
blamable. For although according to the best of your 
own judgment you have the command of God on your 
side in any work, yet you ought to fear lest you should 
not have acted rightly, and be apprehensive lest any 
commandment should be against you. Even as Abraham, 
though he had received die renewal of the promise in 
Isaac, yet he willingly, fearing the judgment of God, of- 
fered him up as a burnt-sacrifice. And so also David, 
in this case, though he was conscious to himself of no 
sin, yet he resigned the kingdom, saying, 2 Sam. xv. 26, 
* But if he say thus, I have no delight in thee : behold 
here I am, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him." 
And so also he permitted Shenaei to curse on, and even 
believed that he was commanded to do it of God, fear- 
ing that it might all be just and right that happened 
unto him. 

Wherefore, how just, holy, innocent, true, and divine 
soever your cause may be, yet, you must conduct it in 
fear and humility: always fearing the judgment of God, 
and having a confidence in nothing of your own but in 
the mercy of God only. Judas Maccabeeus was engaged 
in a most just war ; and many others were overcome in 
most just causes, and in divine matters ; as we have it 
written, Judges xx. 21 and 25; because they did not 
go forth in fear, but depended upon the justness of their 
cause, and not on the mercy of God only. But the 
Apostle satth, 1 Cor. iv. 4, " For though I am not 
conscious of any thing unto myself, yet am I not hereby 


And this is what David here teaches us, with respect 
to this tribulation, by his own example. — That no one is 
at liberty to arrogate justice unto himself, so as to make 
a tumult on account of the justice of his cause, or to 
rage with revenge because of it, or to meditate any re- 
taliation either by force or by law. It is in this way that 
the ecclesiastics madly rage at this day, who wish to 
seem just and wise above all men ; but they ought to 
fear with an humble fear, lest they have merited all those 
things before God ; and they ought to offer themselves 
for deserved punishment; and then, to pray against 
their adversaries according to the innocence of their 
conscience. And this they may do ; for no adversary can 
have a just cause against any man who stands in an in- 
nocent conscience : this is the prerogative of God alone, 
and this prerogative he exercises. For the judgments of 
God, are far different from the judgments of men. Man 
sees those things only which open to view : but God 
beholds the heart Therefore, when any man judges 
otherwise than according to outward appearance, he be- 
comes a calumniator like this Shemei. 

And David, that he may set forth this humility and 
fear of God, carefully entitled the Psalm, ' Concerning 
the words of Cush : ' because he was not ignorant that 
he deserved the persecution of Absalom his son, and yet 
he does not excuse it. But the curses of Shemei he does 
not acknowledge ; or, if they are true, he confesses that 
he does not know his guilt lie deserved, by his adultery 
and murder, the evils that came upon him from Absalom; 
but he is not conscious that he deserves the curses of 
Shemei concerning the blood of Saul. And yet, he fears 
that he deserved it on account of the secret and fearful 
judgment of God. — How these things are, the godly and 
God-fearing heart well knows and feels when it is 
vexed and afflicted either by accusing men or accusing 

The word, moreover, which the translator has 
rightly rendered u iniquity," is in the Hebrew aual, 
which signifies, properly, that which the Latins express 


by 'iniquity/ (iniquitas;) that is, a hurting or injuring 
a person more or less, so as to transgress the bounds of 
what is right; as it happens in the affairs of men. — 
And, what our translation has, " I will justly depart 
empty from mine enemies ;" Hieronymus renders, 4 Yea, 
I have not sent my enemies (that is my persecutors) 
away empty/ Whereby, Hieronymus wishes to convey 
that signification which I have mentioned ; — that David 
not only did not render evil for evil, but even ' did not 
send his enemies empty away ;' that is, he rewarded them 
jood for evil. For this also is a kind of revenge — to 
Force benevolence and good-will from those who offend 
us ; (for even our enemies are to be loved.) Though 
I know not, whether this translation fully gives the 
meaning of the Hebrew. 

And here, observe how David exemplified the evan- 
gelical standard of righteousness. For, to render evil 
for evil seems agreeable to the feelings of the flesh : 
and this was prohibited by the laws of Moses, unless it 
were done by the sentence of a superior, for no one 
was permitted to do it by his own authority. — The con- 
trary to this, is the rendering good for good ; but this is 
mercenary and servile. This is how those serve God 
who wish to suffer neither evil nor death. For God 
therefore oppresses us with evils, that we may learn to 
serve him purely, without any expectation either of 
good or reward, on account of our service. — The third 
kind of return is, rendering evil for good, which is 
hellish, yea, worse than hellish. — And the fourth kind 
of return is rendering good for evil. This is according 
to the Gospel of Christ. And David says that he 
acted according to this last kind of return : because, he 
not only did not render evil for evil, but rewarded good 
unto them, who, after they had received good from him, 
ungratefully returned him evil ; (for so the words are,) 
as we have before shown from the confession of Saul, 
1 Sam. xxiv. 17. 

Ver. 5. — Let the enemy persecute my soul and take 


it : yea let him tread dawn my life upon the earth, and 
lay mine honour\in the dust. 

TheseTwords do not seem to me to be spoken under 
a feeling of confidence, (as many think,) as though he 
was certain that these things would not take place, be- 
cause he did not deserve them : for I think, that, as he 
had begun in humble prayer, so he also sung these 
things in the same fear of God. Because (as I said) 
though he was not conscious to himself that he merited 
this cursing, nay, though he knew that he was called to 
the kingdom by the command of God, yet, on many 
accounts, he could not long glory and boast in this : 
first, because (as I said) God is wonderful in all his 
ways: and then, because we do not know sufficiently 
our own hearts. By which things it may come to pass, 
that you either may not rightly understand the command 
of God, or may not rightly fulfil it And thus, you 
will be guilty though in a most hidden way ; and either 
the commandment of God must be made null or al- 
tered, or God must stand against you, whom you 
thought to be on your side. And it was in this fear 
that Abraham (as I before said) was instructed when he 
offered up his son Isaac. This indeed is an exalted 
degree of the fear of God : wherein thou art obliged to 
apprehend that God and his commandment are not for 
thee, and to fear that they are both against thee. In a 
word, where thou hast to fear that God did not wish, 
but forbad, those very things which he really did wish 
and command. Whereas in all other cases the fear is 
only that we have not done those things which wc know 
are plainly commanded. 

Who can endure this most constant inconstancy of 
the divine contradiction (so to speak) with an all-con- 
stant though incomprehensible constancy, but he who 
is a " man after God's own heart," as this David and 
Abraham were? For here, the verv truth of (rod itself 
seems to totter, and to excite hatred, (as to all human 
judgment.) But in this way must that mercenary prin- 
ciple of our servile nature be destroyed, whereby we 


worship Cod for our own advantage only: and under 
the influence of which, we are inflamed towards God, 
and for God's sake, (as we imagine) and are filled with 
pride, zeal, and hatred for his cause's sake, and ready 
ittd willing to endure way thing for his name and wor- 
ship, and for the salvation of the souls of men, (as we 
call it,) For who of us that had the promise of David 
or of Abraham, would not show forth and maintain this 
command of God even before angels, if any one should 
oppose him with a denial upon that ground? — So 
deeply therefore are the bent and feeling of the flesh 
rooted in us, that God must show himself to us as if he 
were a God inconstant and unfaithful: in order that 
being rightly instructed thereby, we may learn not to 
trust to any thing, even divine or eternal, with a felse 
and perverted affection and feeling. ~ 

David here offers three things to be destroyed : which 
are those which we lose with the greatest grief, — soul, life, 
and honour. He devotes his soul to persecution and a 
prey, his life to a trampling under foot, and his honour to 
a burial. For in the Hebrew it is said, ' And let him 
lay and bury my glory in the dust :' which indeed is the 
same as our translation, but somewhat more clear. 

And he seems to distinguish " soul" from " life" 
thus.— That " soul" should be understood as signifying 
(as I have already observed) the substantial life which 
rives life to the body: but " life" the conversation, or 
the things done in the body by the soul. And this is 
the distinction which the Greeks seem to retain in their 
£on? and f3io$. And indeed, in our own language, though 
we use the same word leben, yet, we use it in different 
senses when speaking of the natural life and when speak- 
ing of the works of that life. 

And in these words he explained what his mind and 
feelings were when he said, 2 Sam. xv. 26, " But if 
he say unto me, I have no delight in thee, behold here 
I am, &c." And also when he said, chap. xvi. 11, 
" Let him curse ; for the Lord hath bidden him." For 
then he was ready to lose his soul, his life, and the ho- 
nour or glory of his kingdom ; as is manifest. And 


therefore, he now sings these same things under the same 
feelings : that by his own example he may instruct all 
of us now we ought to think, how to speak, and how to 
act; and indeed, instructs all who may be brought to 
suffer the same things. 

The sense is, therefore, ' If I am such before thee, let 
that be done which is now done. I willingly submit. 
Let Absalom and Ahithophel seize me. And let there 
be no one to save me from my persecutors, nor to de- 
liver me from the hand of him that seizeth me. I am 
ready to bear all thy will, and to endure the punishment 
due to me. And moreover, let them tread all my life 
and the actions of my life down to the ground : that is, 
let them destroy and cast away all of them, that nothing 
of them whatever may any more remain before the eyes, 
in the ears, or in the memory of men : I willingly lose 
all. Let me be found evil in my life, useless, and per- 
nicious, worthy of being vilely trampled under foot, of 
being supplanted by all, and of being cast away as dust 
shaken from the foot. But let all raise and exalt my 
enemy and extol him to the skies ; let all his life and 
actions be great and wonderful before thee and before 
all men, ana let all that he has done, or now does or 
says, be honoured in the same way. — And not content 
with this, he says, ' Yea, let him not only cast down my 
present and future glory and power, but let him bury 
them in the dust ; so that they shall be cast away for 
ever, and never appear more. Let the throne of my 
kingdom, the wife of my bosom, my children, my 
friends, my riches, and all that I have, go to oblivion. 
Yea, let that glorious promise made me concerning a 
future Christ, which I held more dear than all things 
else, and in which my only hope, glory, and rejoicing 
stood, go also : so that, behold, I also bring and offer 
up my most beloved Isaac, like my fadier Abraham/ 

O " man according to God's own heart," indeed ! 
who can rightly value this state of heart and mind? 
who can rightly speak of it ? We think it the greatest 
of all things to die voluntarily, and to lay down our life. 
But here, David is prepared, not to die merely, but to 


be seized by a persecutor, to be delivered into the hands 
of enemies to be put to death. Not to fall asleep gently 
in the midst of the tears of a circle of dear relations, but 
to be put to death in the midst of enfuriated, mocking, 
and triumphing enemies. But, as to us, what do we 
not perpetrate, what tragedies do we not act over, if 
even one of our works, or our words, be blamed, or, not 
highly celebrated ? Whereas here, one that was univer- 
sally renowned for so many triumphs in war, for so 
many miracles, for a conquered Goliah, for a van- 
quished lion and bear, for so many godly works, for so 
many augmentations of divine worship, not only permits 
all his actions to lose their praise, but to be cast away 
as dust from the shoes and trodden under foot for ever, 
and so trampled upon by all till they are reduced to 
nothing ! 

But as to us, what murders and acts of violence do 
we not plan, if not carry into execution, even upon the 
whole human race, either for the maintaining of some 
old honours and dominions, or for defending some pre- 
sent privileges of our own? Whereas, David, though 
having been anointed king three times . by the divine 
command, and having received the infallible declaration 
and promise of the Christ that should be born from him, 
not only lays down the whole kingdom and all that dis- 
tinguished honour, but is prepared never to receive it 
again, and to remain as a cast-away and dishonoured 
for ever, permitting all those unspeakable honours and 
ornaments to be trodden down and buried in the dust. 
And what feeling can be conceived more unbearable, 
more sublime, more deep, and, in a word, more wonder- 
ful than this ! — David had all these things by the divine 
command, and by commands repeated in more places, 
and on more occasions than one. Why then does he 
not in a rage stand up for the defence of the divine 
command ? Is he, then, ungodly for not maintaining, 
defending, and preserving the kingdom, thus given him 
by the divine command, by blood and by death ? But 
we at this day seem the most godly of all men — if we 
confound heaven and earth in defending temporal things, 


having affixed to them ourselves the title of divine right, 
without any fear of God whatever: whereas, if we 
really had any of these things by divine right, God 
would justly take the whole from us, being offended at 
our pride and contention. 

And, if David feared that the command which he 
received from God had been altered by him, after he 
had been created king of all prophets by so many signs, 
miracles, and unctions, and after he had received so firm 
a promise concerning the future Christ; — I ask you, 
what command", what promise of God, we can nave 
that can give us cause for so much pride, war, conten- 
tion, and for tragedies of the like kind P We may well 
fear, therefore, that there is the least vestige of the true 
Church there, where there is the most noise about the 
Church. For we see that God is most jealously impa- 
tient of all abuse of his promises, and terrible in his 
counsels and commands towards the children of men. 

But enough — I do not say these things as wishing 
that any one's right should be taken from him or en- 
croached upon. But what I. believe, is, that we are 
taught by the words and the example of this scripture, 
that whosoever holds or possesses any thing, how just 
and right so ever his title to it may be, should possess it 
iu fear, and not defend it by force but by prayer and pa- 
tience, and be prepared to yield it up if God so please. 
And indeed the true force and meaning of this scrip- 
ture could not be fully understood and set forth were it 
not for the examples of the present age, to which it is so 
exactly adapted and which it so clearly pourtrays. For 
in this way do the Roman and Greek church both sin in 
their contentions for superiority and dominion, while 
neither yields to the other ; whereas, if they acted in the 
fear of God, each wouli yield to the other. And nei- 
ther of them would .have lost their superiority, but would 
have preserved it much more effectually if they had 
attempted by prayer instead of aiming at it by the con- 
tentions of popes and high-priests : that is, if they had 
not sought to do it by the will and favour of men, but by 
the mercy of God, for it would not then have been pre- 


served by the former, but by the latter. For in this way 
David also prays, and yet offers himself up : he asks 
With Christ that the cup might pass from him, and yet 
obediently yields to the will of God. As it is written in 
the law of Moses, "And thou shalt do righteously that 
Which is right." Hence we see that he who has a most 
just cause is blamable before God, if he does not 
defend it in the fear of God. God regardeth not the 
proud and contentious, how righteous soever their cause 
may be. 

Thus we find it was in the case of Job, in favour of 
whose cause God himself bore .testimony, yet he himself 
reproved Job at the same time. And such a humility 
and fear are necessary for us in the present day, who 
ate contending for the truth of theology and the power 
of the church : for we shall in both these causes be con- 
demned of God, though they are causes most just, if we 
do not seek the mercy of God by prayer, rather than 
aim at victory by a reliance upon the justice of our 
cause. We are indeed to pray that the truth may tri- 
totaph : but if it do not please God that it should be 
accomplished by us, let it be accomplished by whomso- 
ever he will. For let no one think that he shall accept- 
ably do the commands of God, or defend them, if he 
offends at the same time and transgresses that greatest 
of all the commandments : — the worshipping of God in 
fear and humility. For all the other commandments are 
regulated by this, and without this all the other com- 
mandments come to nbthing at all. 

Nothing therefore i3 acceptable but that which is 
done in fear and humility. But where shall we find this 
state of things in the church at this day ? What is the 
church in our times but a certain confusion of schisms, 
where a tumult and noise are made every where about 
the justness of causes and the divine right, but all with- 
out any fear ? and thus while we fulfil all command- 
ments, we seft aside the very head, life, and standard 
rule of all the commandments. O ! blindness, blindness, 
blindness ! 


Ver. 6. — Arise, O Lord, in thine anger, and lift up 
thyself in tine borders of mine enemies : awake, O Lord, 
my God, in the commandment which thou hast com- 

These words in the Hebrew are given in one verse : 
but it is a verse the most obscure : nor is it fully under- 
stood to this day what it saith, or concerning what it 
speaks. Hieronymus has translated it thus, c Arise, O 
Lord, in thine anger, and lift up thyself with indignation 
above mine enemies : awake for me in the judgment 
which thou hast commanded/ But, ' with indignation 
above mine enemies/ is not agreeable to the Hebrew. I 
therefore will make bold to translate the passage verba- 
tim from the Hebrew, thus, 'Arise, O Lord, in thine 
anger, and lift up thyself in the furies of my persecutors, 
and awake up for me from the judgment, thou hast 
commanded.' The words which we render ' in the 
borders/ is, in the Hebrew, equivalent to and nearly the 
same as the word ' fuges ' (or angers ;) and therefore, 
following Hieronymus, I have rendered c furies ' rather 
than " borders." 

But this solecism, or this expression 'thou hast 
commanded/ which is not consistent with the rules of 
grammar, (and which our translators have made sense 
by the" addition of the pronoun relative " which ") is 
found also in other places of the scriptures. As in Psalm 
li. 8, " The bones, thou hast broken, shall rejoice." 
Where we render it, "The bones which thou hast 
broken/' or, " the broken bones ; " as here also, " the 
judgment commanded/' or, " the judgment which thou 
hast commanded." But I, according to my judgment 
should add not, "which," but 'because/ or, "for;" thus, 
* because (or, ' for') thou hast broken them/ and, ' be- 
cause (or, ' for ' ) thou hast commanded.' — And this 
" arise" or, "lift up thyself," or, "awake up," is equi- 
valent to ' take out of the way/ or, ' destroy ; * because it 
is here put alone and implies power, as signifying, that 
the Lord would send a destruction upon the angers or 
furies of his enemies : in this manner, * Lift up thyself 


against the wrath of mine enemies:' that is, 'make 
a destruction and overthrow of those ragings whereby 
my persecutors rage against me ; ' that is, Absalom and 
his party. And to the same meaning is to be applied, 
" awake," or lift up thyself, or arise : for David wishes 
to say, do thou raise or lift up thy hand against these 
furies. Just in the same sense as he says, Psalm cxxxviii. 
7, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble thou shalt 
revive me : thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against 
the wrath of mine enemies." — And then, there is that 
expression, " awake up for me : " where, instead of, 
" for me," our translation has " O Lord my God : " 
because, without the points, the Hebrew may read " my 
God," or, " for me." And, " awake " applies to him 
who is waked up, and who arises as .out of sleep ; as 
David says also in another place, "awake, O Lord, why 
sleepqst thou .?" — And again, 'from the judgment,' (which 
our translation has " in the commandment ") seems to 
me to mean the office from which judges and kings de- 
rive their name : concerning which it is said, Psalm i. 5, 
" The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment." And 
Psalm cxxii. 5, " For there are set the thrones of judg- 
ment" So that "from judgment" should signify the 
same as, for judgment, or, for the purpose of judgment. 
As we have it, Psalm lxviii. 29, " From thy temple at 
Jerusalem, (that is, because of thy temple at Jerusalem,) 
shall kings bring presents unto thee." And in the same 
manner is that of Psalm iv. 7, " From the time of their 
corn and wine are they increased." For this use of the 
letter Mem or the preposition 0, or ab, seems to have a 
force equivalent to a conjunction, according to the sense 
of that passage, Psalm lxxxi. 4, " For this was a statute 
for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob." And so 
here, "from judgment:" that is, because that is the 
judgment which thou hast commanded. 

And Jehoshaphat giving commandment to the 
judges, said, 2 Chron. xix. 6, " Take heed what ye do, 
for ye judge not for man but for the Lord." And directly 
afterwards he commanded them, that they should judge 
for the judgment and the cause of the Lord when they 


returned to Jerusalem. — And therefore, David prays 
unto God, that he would rise up for him in order to 
judgment, that the ungodly may not prevail, who always 
exercise among the people their own tyranny instead of 
the judgment of God. — If, therefore, we receive the 
meaning of the passage thus, it will easily appear, that 
' commandment * and 'judgment' will signify one and 
the same thing : because, in judgment, judges execute 
the command of God, whereas tyrants rather subvert it, 
as we have said. 

The meaning is, therefore, (when we call info our aid 
this peculiar grammatical construction,) 'Arise, () Lord, 
and show thy wrath, that thou mayest no longer suffer 
these*things : oppose and prevent the fury of my perse- 
cutors, and stretch out thine hand against their rage, 
and prevent their impetuosity from falling on me. 
Awake at length, and remember. And this I pfay, not 
on my own account, but for thy judgment sake ; lest all 
things be rashly perverted and confounded, while there 
is none to administer and govern affairs ; and especially 
at a time when when all things ought to be governed by 
thine own immediate order and command/ — So far for 
the grammatical meaning of the passage. 

And now, taking the theology contained in the 
words, let us inquire, why he prays for the anger of God 
upon his enemies, and why he again arrogates to himself 
the kingdom when he had been just before so willing to 
give the whole up, and to benefit his enemies. 

First of all, as he had offered up himself and his in 
fear and humility, it is certain that this prayer was not 
put up in a wrong spirit ; and then, after he had as- 
cribed all glory and righteousness unto God, he prays in 
safety against those who exercised tyranny by force. For 
the fear of the Lord causes a man to execute the divine 
command faithfully : by which command, he knew that 
the kingdom and the administration of judgment were 
committed to him. Add to this, that he does not seek 
his own herein, but the things of God : for he says, 
Thou hast commanded that I should hold the office of 
judgment among the people. And therefore, he chose 
vol. in. 2 a 


rather to use the word "judgment" than 'kingdom:' 
that he might show, that he was concerned in the cause 
of God, and that he did not desire a mere- pompous 
outside show, but a good work. Hence Paul says, 
1 Tim. iii. 1, " If a man desire the office of a bishop, he 
desireth a good work." 

He prays then for the wrath of God upon them, not 
as desiring that they should be destroyed, but, that, ac- 
cording to what he had said in the preceding Psalm, 
they might feel the wrath of God, and God himself 
resisting them, and making all their attempts vain, and 
might be led to repentance and be brought right : for if 
they felt not this wrath, they would go on multiplying 
their sins and remaining insensible, and persecuting the 
godly, the ways of the godly, and the commands of God 
without end, thinking all the while that they were ren- 
dering God the greatest service. How then could a 
church of the godly subsist in the world, if God did not 
at some time manifest his anger against the ungodly, and 
judge the needy, and avenge the poor ? Therefore, as he 
himself makes stormy the depths of the sea, so does he 
again still its waves, setting bounds to the surges, saying, 
" Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further : and here 
shall thy proud waves be stayed/' as we have it written, 
Job xxxviii. 1 1 . And so, he who raises the fury of the 
uagodly, can also restrain it at his pleasure, in order to 
show his anger against it, and to manifest that its malice 
does not please him. 

David therefore prays for three things, First, that 
.God would arise and show his anger, and take away 
that will from the enemies upon which they presume. 
Secondly, that he would restrain their fury, and subvert 
their base attempts. And thirdly, that returning to 
him, he would restore the judgment of God. And thus, 
not because he deserved it, but because God had not 
only promised it and done it himself, but had com- 
manded that it should be so : wherein the prophet seeks 
nothing else than that the truth of God may be esta- 
blished, and that his command might be fulfilled : and 
he says, if this may not be, he will willingly yield to 


their fury. And here he begins to touch upon the feel- 
ings under such temptation : — that, after the darkness 
of the tribulation is past, his confidence in the mercy of 
God began to brighten up. And he teaches us that we 
should also learn to do the same in all our tribulations. 
For all these things took place and were recorded for 
our admonition and instruction. 

Ver. 7. — So shall the congregation of the 'people corn- 
pats thee about : for their sake* therefore go thou hack 
o* high. 

In this verse (to keep to the sense and meaning al- 
ready proposed) David shows, that his concern was, not 
for himself, but for the people. For he first prays to 
be restored to the judgment, not for his own sake, 
nor for the sake of the people, but solely because God 
had commanded ; that the will of God in this matter 
might be done first. And now, from the love of Gt*d f 
he comes down to the love of the brethren and of his 
neighbour, that by this same command of God he might 
serve men also. Grant, says he, that the congregation 
of the people may again compass me about, cleave to 
me, and be subject to me : (for he speaks in an optative 
sense by the future indicative, as he glories also, 
Psalm cxliv. 2, " Who subjectest my people under 
me,") for this redounds to their salvation, if they 
obey thee who hast set me as king over them. Let 
them not stray as sheep without a shepherd, lest, as men 
without a guide, they fall into the hands of every robber. 
And if I am unworthy, yet, thou art worthy whom i 
should obey ; and they deserve not, on account of me, 
to l>e delivered over to scattering and destruction. () do 
thou, therefore, restore me to the head of affairs, and 
gather the outcasts of Israel, Psalm cxlvii. 2, and the 
members into the body. Thus the godly ruler of the 
people, as far as lie himself is concerned, will willingly 
lose all things ; will only desire to do his duty to God 
and men, and will fear lest his evils should be the cause 
&f his people's peril and destruction. 

Am examples of this, look either at St. Athatuttia* of 

2 A 2 


Hilary, or the like characters, in the time of the Arian 
heresy, who were driven from their stations into exile ! 
(For I do not see that it is possible to adduce any ex- 
ample from our own times, because none now a-days 
dare to do any thing that is likely to subject them to 
exile.) These holy fathers, though they were most free 
from all iniquitous ambition, yet, (as Hilary himself con- 
fesses,) from the debt they owed to the ministry and 
priesthood committed to them, they prayed that the 
Arians might be cast down, and that they might be per- 
mitted to minister unto God in their stations, and to 
profit the people : for while they were absent, they 
anxiously and grievously feared for the people intrusted to 
their care, lest they should be torn in pieces by heretical 
wolves : and they were deeply concerned also lest vio- 
lence should be done to the word of God. If therefore 
the present verses be prayed in their persons, and if the 
example of David be considered, it will be found, that 
these words exactly agree with the feelings of those who 
are brought into such a state. 

And he has wonderfully managed his words ; so as 
not to say, shall compass " me about," but " shall 
compass thee about;" that is, shall be gathered unto 
thee. That he might show forth that which we men- 
tioned before, — that the judgment is not of man but of 
God. And therefore, they are gathered unto God, and 
not unto, man, who are gathered unto the man that mi- 
nisters in the work of God. And he has a reference to 
that figurative expression in the scriptures where the 
Lord is said to be in the midst of his people : as in 
Psalm 5, " God is in the midst of her, she shall 
not be moved." And 2 Cor. vi. 16, which is taken from 
Leviticus xxvi. 12, " And I will walk among you and 
will be your God, and ye shall be my people." Most 
highly and appropriately therefore, does David here 
speak in this matter ; for Absalom, and those who imi- . 
tate him, do not seek to gather people unto God but 
unto themselves. They wish themselves to be idols sur- * 
rounded by the people : for they seek not the glory of 
Gjod and the salvation of the people, as all faithful men 


ought to do that stand up between God and the people, 
but they seek the increase of their own power. 

By this word, therefore, he strikes at the arrogance 
and ambition of those who command over the people 
* only to aggrandise their own power : and that this may 
not be done is what the man after God's own heart 
prays for. But this evil most certainly increases in the 
church at this day beyond all bounds, and that by the 
wrath of God, for our fearing the censures of men far 
more than the threatenings of God, and for our losing 
sight of God altogether by having respect to the persons 
of men. 

And then, with respect to these words, " For their 
sakes therefore go thou back on high," or as the Hebrew 
has it, " return thou, &c." — He does not say, Put me 
again on high, but, " Return thou on high." Nor does 
he say, For my sake, but, " For their (the people's) sake." 
" For (says he) it is them that I pity, it is their calamity 
and their being seduced that fills me with so much grief. 
It is for them that I pray, not for myself. Behold, 
therefore, as before in the love of God he prayed for the 
judgment which God had commanded : so here, in the 
love of the brethren, he prays for their salvation : thus, 
equally anxious in both respects, lest the judgment of 
God should not be satisfied, and that men may not 
perish on his account: that the office of ruling the 
people which God has commanded, and the obedience 
of the people who submit themselves to it, may stand, 
that there may never be a people without a God nor a 
God without a people. O what a scripture is this to be 
held in the memory and to be observed faithfully by all 
bishops, pastors, rulers, and potentates ! 

But when is it that God leaves his seat on high, so 
as to make it necessary for him to return unto it ? Why, 
it is as often as any proud and ambitious one sits in the 
place of God. lor, while such an one subjects the 
people of God unto himself, rather than unto God, he 
certainly, as far as lies within his power, is "exalted (as 
Paul saith, 2 Thess. ii. 4,) above all that is called God 
or that is worshipped." And such an one as this is anti- 


CHRIST \ And as this is a time in which all these popes add 
high-priests in the -church are thus ambitious and subject 
the people unto themselves and not unto Christ, who 
cm doubft tli&t Antichrist is reigning ? But God returns 
pn high, when, casting down all these Absalomsy he 
again restores his judges as of old, who gather together 
people unto God, teach the commandments of God, as 
of old, and set aside all the traditions of men. 

And let no one wonder that the returning of God on 
high, is his reviving his judgment, his power, his office* 
and his ministry : for the prophet, as we know, speaks 
in the spirit : and therefore he is to be understood as 
speakipg of a spiritual exaltation of God : who is ex- 
alted, whe? we are brought to submit to him, when we 
hear his word, and when we see his works ; and when att 
these are wrought by the ministration of man. 

Wherefore, this Psalm is a most effectual prayei ; 
And I wish that we all prayed it at this day with feelings 
of heart equal to the words* for there never wps a time 
when such a prayer was more needed* But what do we 
see at this day in the church that at all answers to these 
words? Where are to be found the men who gather 
people together unto Christ, with the same anxiety as 
they gather them together unto themselves? Who is 
ijow anxious to see the people fear Christ, as to see them 
fear the power of the pope ? We unconcernedly smile at 
those who offend God by their sins, but when any offend 
the pope, we vent aH our fury against them. We compel 
them to observe our pomps, ceremonies, ordinances, and 
laws : but so far are we from gathering them together to 
the observance of the words of Christ and to the love of 
the Spirit, that we labour with all our endeavoure to 
prevent the people of Christ from understanding the 
truth, and to hinder the believers in Christ from being 
in peace and union with each other, especially kings and 
princes ; until we have dared even to teach such things 
as these ; — that it is an offence to teach' the true godli- 
ness of Christ : that is, we teach, that, in our estimation, 
it is a matter of no small peril for the people to be ad- 
mitted to a true knowledge of the gospel, to prefer the 


Word of God to the words of men, and to value the works 
of true godliness above all the foolish outside show of 
works. For we begin to think that if such knowledge 
prevails, we shall meet with famine on the one hand and 
poverty on the other, and that all the pomp which we 
have scraped together from out the whole world, will 
fall to the ground. In a word, in such perilous times do 
we live at this day, that we are compelled to adore, not 
God, but man. 

Ver. 8. — The Lord judgeth the people : judge me, O 
Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to 
mine integ? % ity that is in me. 

Here he plainly shows himself, and discovers to us 
what he meant by God's returning on high, by the 
judgment commanded of God, and by the congregation 
of the people which compass God about. — Why, (says 
he) should I not speak thus? It is not we thai rule, that 
judge : it is the Lord that judgeth the people, and the 
judgment of the people belongeth to him alone : it is he 
that speaks, that judgeth and does all things in us. Thus 
Gideon saith, Judges viii. 23, " I will not rule over you, 
neither shall my son rule over you, the Lord shall rule 
over you." Behold the holy man ! he will not permit 
the people to be gathered together unto himself, even 
though requested to do it; he gives all over unto the 
Lord. On the other hand, 1 Kings viii. 7, the Lord said 
unto Samuel, "They have not rejected thee, but they 
have rejected me, that I should not reign over them." 
Not that there was any evil in asking a king, or in hav- 
ing one, (for afterwards God gave them kings,) but they, 
by a blinded heart and affections, were more anxious 
about a king than about God : for they did not desire 
the king that by him they might be brought nearer unto 
God : and therefore they were just such as ought to be 
under such a tyrant as would subject them to himself 
and not to God : and this is what happened unto them 
in Saul whom they desired for their king. 

From all which things it is manifest, that it is an 
evident sign of the wrath of God when he himself does 


not reign, but permits ambitious Absaloms to hold the 
place of judgment: considering us unworthy to hear 
the Word of God, or to see his works : as he himself 
foretold, Luke xvii. 22, saying, " The days will come 
when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son 
of man and shall not see it." 

In the Hebrew the verb is in the future, " he shall 
judge the people : " which, by the optative, may be un- 
derstood in a petitionary sense, in this way. — I pray 
thee that thou wouldst he the judge of the people, 
and that thou wouldst not suffer men to judge, nor thy 
people to be seduced by the words of men, nor by the 
burthens which they may lay upon them. Or it may be 
understood assertatively, and in a way of hope, from his 
feeling a confidence that his prayer was heard ; which is 
how I should rather understand it ; in this way. — I feel a 
confidence and am certain that lam heard, in praying, that 
thy Word, thy work, and thy judgment, may gather thy 
people together again, whom these ungodly ones have 
scattered by their words and works, had have drawn them 
from thee, on account of me. 

After, therefore, he had expressed his concern for 
the cause of God and of the people, he at last 'begins 
upon his own cause ; praying that his innocence might 
be made manifest : because the cause of God and of the 
people could not be restored in this instance, unless 
the ungodly were cast down and his innocence were de- 
fended. Therefore, the necessitous state of the glory of 
God and of the safety of the people, compels him to 
pray that his own cause might be justified. For as long 
as he is condemned unjustly, so long, of necessity, it 
must appear, that neither the judgment of God nor the 
obedience of his people are true, because he is not 
heard, though the accusations and condemnations of his 
accusers and persecutors must of necessity be heard. 

Hence we see, that it is not enough that any one, in 
a just cause, suffer for the truth and commit the matter 
unto God, and be prepared to yield and to be brought 
down to the dust together with all his glory ; but he 
piust pray anxiously that God would judge and justify 


tlie cause of truth ; not for his sake and advantage, but 
for the vindication of the ministry of God and for the 
salvation of his people ; whose salvation is not without 
peril, nor without thy fault, if, from a foolish humility, 
thou dost not pray most fervently for the preservation 
and manifestation of the truth and of thine own righte- 
ousness. For thou oughtest not so much to care about 
how humble and abject thou mayest be, as to fear about 
the people being drawn away from the truth and from 
righteousness by lies and iniquity. Thou art indeed to 
bear evils and injustice ; but so, that thou mayest not 
throw away thy love upon others ; for love ought to be 
solicitous about, not how thou mayest thyself rise, but 
how the godly may be prevented from offences and from 
perishing. " For my brethren and companions' sakes 
(says David, Psalm cxxii. 8,) I will now say, Peace be 
within thee." And thus Paul also gives thanks unto God, 
that his bonds had not caused any impediment to the 
gospel, but had even furthered it. rhil. i. 

David says, therefore, as thou art ubout to judge the 
people, as that belongs to thee alone, and as it is thus 
that the people shall compass thee about again, and that 
thou shalt be again in the middle of them, as I have 
prayed thou mayest be : now, therefore, that this may 
be brought about more effectually, judge me according 
to my righteousness and according to mine integrity that 
is in me ; and thereby show how false and lying these 
curses of the Ethiopian, the son of Jemini, are, lest my 
righteousness being falsely accused should in any way 
hinder this thy judgment and the salvation of the people. 

And we have before shown, Psalm iii. that in the 
scriptures, the righteousness of man and the righteous- 
ness of God are different things ; that a man's righte- 
ousness is that whereby he is unblamable before men 
and in his own conscience, though that righteousness 
sufficeth not before God. Hut the righteousness of God, 
is the grace and mercy of God which justify us even be- 
fore God. Hence David most carefully adds "my 
righteousness," that he might distinguish it from that 
pf which he speaks at the end of the Psalm, saying, " I 


will praise the Lord according to his righteousness/' 
And perhaps he says " my righteousness " and " mine 
integrity" with reference to the two things which he 
had before said, ver. 3, " If I have done this," and " if 
there be iniquity in my hands : " which he had said in 
defiance of Shemei. So that his u righteousness " is his 
toot being guilty of the Wood of Saul ; nay, his not hav- 
ing reworded evil unto them that did him evil, and his 
not having sent his enemies empty away. And his " in- 
tegrity " or ' innocence ' or € simplicity ' (for the Hebrew 
v word means all these same things,) are, his not having 
invaded the kingdom of Saul by his own authority. 

But what means this "upon me?" Hieronymus 
translates K, " which is in me : " but whose righteous- 
ness is not in him ? Does he add this in order to- make a 
greater difference, and to show more distinctly, that the 
righteousness whereby we are justified before God is 
not in ourselves, but in God and out of ourselves ? Yes, 
he does it, to leave no one any opportunity of being 
puffed up in himself on account of his own righteousness 
before God : though for the sake of the salvation of 
others, we are to seek to have our innocence or integrity 
justified, before men, as I have said. 

Ver. 9- — The wickedness of sinners shall come to an 
end; but thou shalt guide the just : for thou art a righ- 
teous God that trieth the hearts and reins. 

Here our translator varies after his custom : for 
what he had translated, Psalm v. 5, " The malignant 
shall not stand in thy sight" he here translates 4 wicked' 
or "wickedness." And what he had rendered, Ps. i. 1, 
"ungodly," he here renders " sinners." But what un- 
godly and ungodliness, malignant and malignity are, I 
have abundantlv shown, Psalm i. and v. Tne Hebrew 
and the translation of Hieronymus, run thus, "The 
wickedness of the ungodly shall come to an end, and the 
just shall be established ; the righteous God trieth the 
hearts and the reins." 

David teaches us in this example that we also ought 
to contend more in prayer unto God against the nialig- 


nity of the ungodly, and for the innocence of the just, 
than in our own strength and with our own noise and 
tumult For we are to tight with weapons different from 
those of the ungodly. They contend with noise and 
tumult, but we are to contend with prayer, the Word, 
and patience. 

Let it " come to an end," says David : which is the 
same as, let it be finished, end, and cease : as we have 
it, Psalm civ. 35, " Let the sinners be consumed out of 
the earth, and let the wicked be no more." And, on the 
other hand, contrary to this, he prays that the just may 
be established : that is, that he may prosper, be guided, 
and be confirmed, and the more so by the wicked being 
consumed. Nor would it be at all absurd if we were to 
read it 'justice/ (justum) in the neuter gender, in op- 
position to the " wickedness " of the wicked ; thus 
taking it in the abstract for righteousness, or .for a 
righteous thing, or the cause of a righteous person : as 
the Apostle speaks, Rom. v. 7, " For scarcely for a 
righteous man will one die." But these things are of 
little moment 

David then is to be understood to have prayed this 
verse as an example unto us in order to instruct us in 
right affections : for he did not offer up this prayer from 
a desire of revenge, but from a zealous love toward God 
and men, in the same way as he had prayed in the verse 
preceding. For those who are desirous of revenge, do 
not seek the fall of their adversaries in the last place 
but in the first. Whereas David, here, is concerned 
about God in* the first place and about the people in the 
next, and then he comes to his own case in due order, 
and lastly unto his adversaries ; whom he desires thus 
to be brought to an end, that the ministrations of God 
and the salvation of the people may not be endangered, 
as wc before said : which |>eril cannot be taken out of 
the way unless the malignity of the ungodly be brought 
to an end, and the cause of the innocence of the just be 
established ; and that by the judgment and avenging hand 
of God. Wherefore, as the wickedness of the wicked in 
the time of Davids tribulation was the tyranny of Ab- 


salom and his party who oppresssed justice; so, in 
every state of the church each just man's oppression, is 
the wickedness of his Absalom and the violence and ty- 
ranny which he endures. 


We have not yet spoken upon " the reins and the 
heart," of which frequent mention is made in the scrip- 
tures : and therefore, we must once for all treat the 
subject here. 

In the book of Leviticus, nearly the whole of the 
third chapter, which instructs the priests concerning 
peace-offerings, speaks of the sacrifice of the reins or 
kidneys, (renibus) or small kidneys (renunculis,) of the 
parts that hold or contain the vitals, and of the fat and 
caul of the intestines. And it is probable, that the fre- 
quent mention that is made of kidneys or reins is taken 
from this part of the scripture ; and therefore, we must 
come to the nature and meaning of the words. 

Physicians say that the two kidneys are connected 
to the loins, and that they are the^organs of lust and 
pleasure, as the heart is of fear and confidence, the 
spleen of laughter and joy, and the liver of love and hatred. 
Hence, they will have it, that ren is derived from the 
Greek /5e», which signifies to flow, because the obscene 
humour of lust flows from the kidneys. And hence, to 
the loins, in which the kidnies are seated, is ascribed by 
the scriptures the shame of lust : as in that passage, 
Luke xii. 35, " Let your loins be girded about." Heb. 
vii. 10, " For Levi was yet in the loins of his father 
Abraham." And again, Gen. xlvi. 26, " And the souls 
which came out of Jacob's loins were threescore and 
six." It is manifest, therefore, that by reins, are to be 
understood delights or pleasures ; which must be of- 
fered up as sacrifices to God by the mortification of 
the flesh. 

And these same pleasures, or the sensations of 
delight that accompany them, are signified by the 
caul and all the fat. Because all this delight, and 


all this love, and the pleasures attending it, are to be of- 
fered up to God, and we are to rejoice and delight in 
nothing but in God, who alone is to be loved ; as he 
saith, Leviticus iii. 17, "And all the fat shall be the 
Lord's, by a perpetual statute. 1 ' And this is what Paul 
also saith, Phil. iv. 4, taking away the veil from Moses' 
face, " Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again, I say re- 
rejoice." And thus, David understanding Moses in the 
same spirit, shows, that fat signifies joy ; saying, Psalm 
lxiii. 5, " My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow, and 
my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.' 9 

Therefore he that loves God, enjoys God, delights 
in God, and rejoices in those things that are of God, — 
he offers up to God the liver, the reins, the fat, and the 
caul, mortified together with all their carnal and corporal 
lusts, delights, pleasures, and gratifications. And this is 
what the law enjoined the priests to do: that is, all 
Christians, who are priests, " a royal priesthood, a holy 
nation, a peculiar people/ 1 1 Pet. ii. 9. 

And to all this agrees Augustine, who every where 
by reins understands sensual pleasures. ' Rightly (says 
be) is the pleasure of earthly and temporal things attri- 
buted unto the reins, because that is itself the inferior 
part of man, and is that part in which is seated the 
pleasure of carnal generation, through which the human 
race are sent forth, by a succession of offspring, unto 
this life so full of all sorrowful and fallacious joy.' 

But the " heart," because it is the seat of the under- 
standing, signifies the counsels of the man, his pursuits, 
toinc!, judgment, opinions, affections, thoughts, powers 
°f valuing and esteeming, and the like. And hence, 
beart is put before reins, because it seeks the pleasure 
by imagination, and then the pleasure follows ; and 
e ?ery one is delighted with those things which he judges 
will be good for him, when he shall obtain them. Hence 
*be wisdom of the flesh is said by the Apostle to be an 
e Qemy to God, Rom. viii. because it seeks pleasures 
H 'bich are contrary to him, and is affected, delighted, 
^d carried away with those things which God has pro- 
hibited. The sense of the passage is, therefore, that God 


alone searcheth, knoweth, examineth, and proveth the 
thoughts, delights, desires, and pleasures of all : because 
he is a weigher of the spirits, Prov. xvi. 2. — So far the 
literal meaning of the words. 

But why did David wish to say these things here ? 
Or how do they at all agree with what has preceded ? 
He had said, " Let the wickedness of the wicked come 
to an end, but let the cause of the just be established." 
But, as the judgment of taen and me judgment of God 
are two very different things, nay, quite contrary to each 
other, David, in the sight of men who see things as they 
outwardly appear, was judged by Absalom and Shemei 
to be a man of blood and guilty of many crimes : for, as 
it is said, 2 Sam. xv. 13, u The hearts of the men of Is- 
rael are after Absalom." Thus Absalom shines as just, 
righteous, and gopd ; and, in the eyes of all, David was 
vile, ungodly, evil, and injurious. Hence as it is a most 
powerful temptation to be left and deserted by all, and 
to have all our friends go over to oar adversary, David 
of necessity calls upon the judgment of God, that he 
would judge according to the heart. 

And in this way David consoles himself and con- 
firms his hope, holding a good and right opinion con- 
cerning God. As if he had said, Although all should 
forsake me and should flee unto Absalom, though he 
should be established and I should be consumed and 
brought to nought ; yet thou, O Lord, who art a just 
God, judging in a manner far different from man, and 
trying all men according to their hearts and reins, 
knowest how inkjuitously they act; for thou seest the 
heart and the reins, and thou knowest, what they think, 
what they seek, and in what they rejoice. And on the 
other hand, thou art not ignorant of my thoughts and 
wishes ; though my enemies' outward appearance and 
tnine are both very different from our heart and reins. 
And therefore I pray, that thou wouldst consume their 
wickedness, and establish my righteousness. — For this 
verse, in the Hebrew, is manifestly a petition ; because 
the woid na is added, which is translated by the inter- 
jection * O,' or by the verb ' I pray ; ' thuSj u Let, I 


beseech thee, the wickedness of the wicked come to tin 
end/' As we have it also, Psalm cxviii. 25, "Save now, 
I beseech thee, O Lord/' 

We are instructed in this verse therefore, not to 
yield in defending the cause of truth, how many soever, 
nay if all, fall off from us and go over to our adversaries : 
for it is no new thing at this day even for a whole mul- 
titude, together with all the great ones of the land, to 
hold an error and to defend an unjust cause. Though it 
is difficult and hard to bear this being left alone, be- 
cause, when this is the case fools all glory that their 
cause is true and invincible. But God liveth, whose 
judgment must be called in to our aid, and firmly to be 
adhered to ; for he trieth the reins and the heart, be- 
cause he is a just God. Hence the word "just," belongs 
peculiarly to this verse, because the whole force of the 
scripture lies in it, and by it is signified that all men are 
unjust judges. 

From all this it will follow, that heart and reins are 
to be understood in a twofold way; as being unmortified 
and not offered up to God, and on the contrary, as be- 
ing rectified and purged by grace. For David speaks 
directly after, of the upright in heart ; and shows, what 
hearts God tries, searches, and accepts ; saying, 

Ver. 1 0. — My defence is of God, who saveth the up- 
right in heart. 

The Hebrew is thus translated by Mieronymus, 
'My shield is in God;' for it signifies protection and 
defence. And these are the words of David exhorting 
himself unto hope in God against the multitude of men/ 
*ho are his adversaries, and who trust in themselves ; 
and especially against the words of Shemei, where he 
said, 2 Sam. xvi. 8, " Behold thou art taken in thy mis- 
chief, because thou art a bloody man : and the Lord 
hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom 
jhy son." Be it so then, says David, trust ye in man who 
judges according to appearance. I have found my de- 
fence : I trust in God, who judgeth according to the 
heart — Wherefore all the force lies in the pronoun 


u my " and " Lord : " and those two words are set 
against ' your,' and ' man.' Your defence (says he) is in 
man, but mine is in the Lord. And this is how we are 
to act in all like cases. — And there is another force con- 
tained in the pronoun relative " who," and in the word 
" upright," in this way. Man saves the corrupt in heart, 
but God the upright in heart. And these words are very 
necessary for those who are enduring tribulation, that 
they may thereby cherish in their hearts a firm persua- 
sion concerning the mind of God toward them, and 
may hold it fast against all arguments that may be urged 
to the contrary, that they may not faint in their hope of 
divine help. 

And what this upright heart is we have fiiHy^hown, 
Psalm i. when speaking of the " counsel of the ungodly." 
This upright heart is when a man has a right apprehen- 
sion of God, and when he is not led according to hit 
own senses : that is, when he believes and hopes in 
God. For it is faith alone that justifies, purifies, and es- 
tablishes the heart by setting it in a right, true, and holy 
apprehension of God. And this exactly agrees with the 
subject of the Psalm ; for Shemei endeavoured to 
prove the justness of his curses even upon the authority 
of God. And it rightly accords with the expulsion of 
David and the usurpation of Absalom. For David in 
these words shows, hpw men of false and depraved 
hearts are accustomed to show themselves oft* under a 
specious appearance, and to revile the upright in heart, 
especially when the applause of the people joins with 

Ver. 1 1. — God is a judge just, strong, and patient : 
will he be angry every day ? 

The Hebrew is different from this translation : and 
runs thus, i God is a judge, righteous, and strong, being 
filled with indignation everyday.' And that which we 
render " strong " is a name of God, and is the same as 
el: so that it might be more properly rendered 'God 
is a righteous judge, and God is angry all the day : ' 
and therefore, the word " patient '' is added, and is 


generally called in by interpreters in their rendering of 
the verse, though it is not in the original text. 

Hence, the hope of David so grew in this temp- 
tation, that now, he nut only has no doubt that he is 
heard and will be delivered, but also begins to ad- 
monish his adversaries to fear the judgment and ven- 
rce of God. And then he openly declares that all 
they had devised against him shall fall upon their 
Own head. And although David sung these things after 
his temptation, so that we may plainly see, that he of- 
fered this consolation to the persecuted, and denounced 
this anger upon the persecutors, after he had been taught 
by the very event of his tribulations, and that he in- 
structed others by his own successful example and by 
the perils of his adversaries: yet, we are to believe, that 
he meditated upon those things in the midst of his tri- 
bulation which lie afterwards sung in his Psalms in 
public. For he never despaired of God, and therefore, 
he knew that all these things would come upon his 
adversaries. And so now also, and always, every just 
man, who sees the ungodly unjustly doing violence to the 
righteous, may with confidence think and say, that God, 
■ huin he knows to be a just judge, will not sutler these 
hin;;s. As David says also, Psalm ix. 18, "The ex- 
pectation of the poor shall not perish forever." And 
this he by no means obscurely indicates, when in the 
same history which is now before us, he gave such 
anxious injunctions that his son Absalom should he 
preserved ; because, that is, he knew and feared, that 
the evil he had done would fall upon his own head, as 
it al-o happened. And here he declares that the same 
shall come upon all who follow his steps. 

Let us, therefore, hear this holy preacher, and listen 
to those things which he declares to his ungodly adver- 
saries with pious solicitude, desiring to rescue them from 
dangers, and thus truly rendering good for evil. — -Know 
" is, (says he,) God is a judge, but he is a just oue, who 
ls no respect of persons, is not moved by any mul- 
itude, nor deceived by any fraud of man, nor taken 
any craft, nor changed by any favour, nor corrupted 
vol. in. 9b 





by any gift. For by these things men are not only ren- 
dered unjust judges, but even despisers of God the just 
judge, for they think it enough to please men. And 
again, God as judge does not condemn, for the sake of 
pleasing men, either the solitary, the reviled, the cursed, 
the oppressed, the poor, or the despised. In a word, 
even this one word, 'God is a righteous judge/ is 
enough, if it be truly felt and apprehended, to comfort 
the humble, and to terrify the proud ; and this had 
great weight with Christ ; as Peter witnesseth, 1 Epist. 
ii. £3, saying, "But committed himself to him that 
judgeth righteously." For he that thinks on this word, 
soon lays aside all thoughts of revenge ; nay, he even 
pities his adversaries, who run upon the judgment 
of God. 

" And strong : he is angry all the day : " that is, 
continually. Do not think, ye ungodly, (says David,) that 
God is favourable to you because ye are exalted, and 
become powerful in your iniquity. Know ye and believe 
ye, that things are otherwise than they really appear to 
be. God is wrath and hates you, he is indignant at you, 
he threatens you (for the Hebrew word, as they say, has 
all these significations) all the day. And these things 
must of necessity be said to the ungodly, who, because 
they feel not the anger of God, neither believe it, nor 
fear it. For the words of the Spirit are spoken concern- 
ing things absent and not appearing, but which are to be 
apprehended by faith. 

But our translation seems to reverse the whole of 
this, making the former part refer to the ungodly, and 
the latter to the godly. For we understand that God is 
* just and patient towards the wicked who are to be 
alarmed : and that his not being angry every day refers 
to the godly, whom he consoles and comforts : according 
to that of Psalm ciii. 9, " He will not always chide, 
neither will he keep his anger for ever." And again, 
Psalm lv. 22, " He shall never suffer the righteous to be 
moved." But the Hebrew more appropriately accords 
writh that which now follows, 


Ver. 12. — Unless ye be converted, he will brandish 
sword: he hath bent his bow and made it ready. 

The Hebrew runs thus, 'If he tarn not, he will 
whet his sword/ Though he that whets his sword and 
prepares it, makes it fit for brandishing : so that whet- 
ting and brandishing do not differ much from each 
other. Bat the expression " If he will not turn/ 9 is 
doubtful, whether it refers to God who is threatening, or 
to the wicked who is to be converted : though Hierony- 
mus applies it to die man to be converted ; saying, * He 
will whet his sword against him that will not turn/ 
Perhaps the verb is pot absolutely, thus, " If he will not 
turn ; ' that is, if there shall be no turning. But whether 
you say, ' Unless ye turn/ or, ' against him that will not 
tarn/ or, *if there be no turning,' the sense remains 
exactly the same. 'Let us therefore proceed to inquire 
into this sense. 

The prophet is making use of a plain and coarse si- 
militude for striking terror; because he is speaking 
tgrinst the insensible and hardened, who will not under- 
stand the severity of the divine judgment concerning 
which he has been speaking, unless it be "set before 
them by some similitude taken from that which betokens 
severity among men. Therefore, he does not speak of a 
rod, nor a staff, nor of any thing that betokens discipline 
among men, but brings forward that which threatens 
death ; namely the sword, and the bow, which betoken 
eternal judgment, eternal death, and eternal wrath. For 
-what is the sword of God but the word of eternal judg- 
ment? concerning which Paul saith to the Hebrews, 
chap. iv. 1 2, " For the Word of God is quick and 
powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword : " by 
which Word it is that God will say upto them " Depart, 
ys cursed, into everlasting fire." And the word *' sword " 
signifies cutting and slaying ; and especially when it is 
8 Poken of as being whetted and brandished. 

And his words are addressed to these same insen* 
*rt>l« ones when he is not only not contented with saying 
"**fcthe ■ sword is whetted,' but that the 'bow is bent; 9 and 



not only so, but he describes the * arrows ' also. So hard 
are the front and face of ungodliness, that all these 
threats are necessary : nor will it be ^oftened even by 
these. And the bow has the same signification as the 
sword: namely, the Word of judgment; which is the 
same thing signified and represented by these various 
things. — And when David saith he hath 'made them 
ready ; ' it is the same as he meant before, when he 
said, " and guide thou the just." So that you are to un- 
derstand that the bow is prepared, bent, and made 
ready to strike the wicked immediately; even as the 
sword also is brandished to cut them in pieces. 

In these words, therefore, he beautifully describes 
the wrath of God as about to fall immediately upon the 
ungodly; of which nevertheless they never understand 
any thibg until they feel it Yet, what would it have 
profited Absalom and Ahithophel, even if they had suc- 
ceeded and prospered for many thousands of years in 
their malice and wickedness, if they were to be overtaken 
by the sudden sword of the wrath of God aX last, and 
cut off, and sent to eternal death ? For the sudden 
wrath of God would be all the while hanging over them. 
JHence Sirach, Eccles. v. 4 — 7, 'And say not, I have 
sinned, and what harm hath happened unto me ? And 
say not, His mercy is great : for mercy and wrath come 
from him, and his indignation resteth upon sinners. 
Make no tarrying to turn unto the Lord, and put not off 
from day to day ; for suddenly shall the wrath of God 
come forth, and in thy security thou shalt be destroyed.' 
And Psalm xxxiv. 1(5, "The face of the Lord is against 
them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them 
from the earth." 

Ver. 13. — He hath also prepared for him the vessels 
of death, he hath ordained his arrows for the 

The Psalmist still pursues his similitude, and he now 
aptly describes the eternal torment ; which is, to die and 
to burn. " Vessel," according to the Hebrew, signifies, 
by a general term, every instrument of every kind : as in 

Psalm Ixxi. 92, " I will, praise thee with the vends of 
psahn : " that is> with an instrument of music. And 
Ezek. ix. 2, " And every man had a vessel of slaughter 
in his hand :" that is, an instrument of death, or an 
instrument for slaughter. And so felso, Acts ix. 15, 
Paul the apostle is said to be "a vessel of election,'" 
which, those who are ignorant of the Hebrew idiom, do 
not understand to be (though it is so) the same as the 
Latin expression initrumentum electum, • chosen vessel;' 
because, that is, Christ's will was to use him, in prefer- 
ence to all the rest of the apostles, to convert the Gen- 
tiles. They understand it as signifying oftily that he had 
received' electing grace: whereas, Christ most par- 
ticularly added, mat he was therefore " a chosfen vessel " 
onto him, because he should bear his name before the 
Gentiles and, the children of Israel, and should suffer 
many things for his name and Word's sake. 

Arid so here, M vessels of death" signify deadly darts 
and weapons, by the same idiom ; which words he uses 
that these insensible ones might not account this threat- 
ening a thing of nought, but that, from the! apprehension 
of temporal death, they might feel the terror of eternal 

" He hath ordained his arrows for the burning/* — 
These words he uses by way of increased force of ex- 
pression; and thereby, either repeats or explains the 
words " vessels of death." And that they might not set 
light by these arrows, he calls them deadly, and for 
terrible purposes; thus, still keeping up a weighty 
power of expression, and making use of striking and 
forcible words. Hieronymus thus renders the passage, 
'He that hath wrought his arrows for burning.' Our 
translation renders the passage obscurely and almost 
barbarously. For what is the meaning of " He has made 
bis arrows for the burning?" Does it mean that he 
fltodfc arrows for those who were burning to cast ? The 
isason of their translating it thus, was the Hebrew word 
being in the. plural, cedolkim: which Hieronymus 
has Tendered ' for burning.' It might have been rendered 
tW ' He hath prepared for him the vessels of destine* 



tion, he hath made ready his arrows to barn ; * or, l that 
they may be burning. 9 For the Hebrew cannot be ren- 
dered literally thus, ' He hath wrought his arrows to be 

Nor is it full enough to say, 'he has made his arrows 
burning : ' though this is also signified, because the verb 
" he hath ordained," or ' wrought,' of which we have 
spoken, Psalm i. is in this passage, paal: which has 
not the signification of any workmanship or art, but of a 
use, or a person using- So that it signifies, both that the 
vessels of death are now ready, and the arrows made 
burning, and also, that God is so using and hurling them, 
that they slay and burn : and therefore, it sets the wrath 
and severity of God immediately before our eyes as pre- 
paring for its execution: for he is now preparing to 
execute bis wrath that the ungodly may die and burn, 
though they do not yet die and burn. 

And moreover, the word " burning " signifies also 
persecution and devastation, Psalm x. 2," " When the 
wicked swell with pride, the poor are burnt up : " that 
is, they suffer persecution. 

The sum of the whole is this. — There is no doubt 
that, under these terms " death " and " burning," he re- 
presents death and hell: concerning which we have 
spoken more at large, Ps. vi. under the words " anger " 
and " fury," " rebuke " and " correct," and also, " con- 
founded " and " put to shame." And concerning these 
arrows Job, vi. 4, complains ; and we find them spoken 
of in many other places in the Psalms. 

And it is observable, that we have not before had 
any such threatening and indignation denounced against 
the ungodly, nor has the Holy Spirit inveighed against 
them with such a power of language. And in what fol- 
lows, he enumerates their pursuits and attempts; which 
were not indeed wholly in vain, for he show3 that they 
all turned upon their own heads ; that all who suffer the 
violence of calumny may plainly see for their consola- 
tion, how hateful calumniators arc, above all others, in 
the sight of God. 


Ver. 14. — Behold, he travaileth with ungodliness, and 
hath conceived pain, and brought forth iniquity. 

Here, he describes their malignant purposes, which 
eventually prove injurious to no one but to the authors 
themselves ; which purposes he calls " unrighteousness/' 
" pain," and " iniquity." Hieronymus translates the pas- 
sage thus, ' Behold he travaileth with iniquity, he hath 
conceived pain, he hath brought forth falsehood.' 

The first word which we have rendered "ungod- 
lines " or " iniquity," is, in the Hebrew, the very word 
avjeh, bv which n signified, (as we have before ob- 
served, Psalms v. and vi.) " the workers of iniquity ; " 
on which passages we have observed, that the word is 
more frequently rendered 'pain:' as in Psalm x. 7, 
"Under his tongue is labour and pain." And so again, 
Psalm xc. 10, "Yet is their strength but labour and 
pain." And hence it may be here rendered, " Behold he 
travaileth with pain." 

And these two words amal and aven, * labour 9 

ud ' pain/ are generally found together, as here, and in 

the Porimo above-mentioned. Hence it may be here 

note properly rendered, " he hath conceived labour : " 

for it more proporly signifies ' labour/ from the act of 

labouring : as in Psalm cxxvii. 1, " They labour in vain, 

that build it" And we have before said, that their lives 

who act thus impiously are such. For, " There is no 

peace, saith my God, to the wicked/ 9 Isaiah xlviii. 98. 

Such know not any thing of the rest of which Christ 

speaks, Matt. xi. 28, 29, " Come unto me, all ye that 

labour and are heavy laden, (as if he had said who are 

In amal and aven,) and ye shall find rest to your 

^ouls." That is, the punishment of the wicked so closely 

presses upon them, that they are afflicted and distressed 

in and by the very act of doing wrong. Nay (says 

David) their very pleasure is a labour. And Augustine 

in his Confessions, Book I. greatly observes, 'Thou, O 

Xiord, hast commanded ; and hence it cometh to pass 

that every disobedient and insubordinate soul is its own 

punishment" And Wisdom v. 7, " We wearied ourselves 


fa the way of wickedness and destruction : yea, we have 
gone through deserts where there lay no way ; but as for 
the way of thie Lord we have not known it." 

This punishment, therefore, or trouble, or labour, 
most especially and terribly distresses men, whenever, 
with this devoted industry, they endeavour to establish 
their own purposes against godliness, and, (as the 
Apostle saith, Rom. x. 2,) " being ignorant of the righte- 
ousness of God, go about to establish their own righte- 
ousness : " that is, that righteousness which is exercised 
in the worst of all iniquities, and in spiritual wicked- 
nesses. And therefore, as I have before said, this evil 
falls principally upon those, who, under a superstitious 
religion, idolatry, and disobedience, seek to justify them- 
selves by self-invented works and devotions, setting aside 
all the while the commandment of God, and indeed the 
commandments of men also which they bound them- 
selves to observe. As such, therefore, walk contrary to 
God, God walks contrary to them : and hence, they 
must of necessity suffer % great deal of uneasiness : and 
indeed, they can have nothing but labour and pain in all 
that thfey do. Hence the Preacher in many places has 
called all this " vanity and vexation of spirit." Whereas* 
on the other hand, those who are led by the Spirit of 
God, and yield themselves up to be guided by it, enjoy 
much peace in God, even while they themselves are in 

Hence we find aven to be rendered "ungodliness" 
before, " unrighteousness " here, and " pain " a little af- 
terwards : and if all these renderings be put together 
they will give us that " malice," which strives so hard to 
carry the plausible appearance of righteousness and 
godliness : whereas, true godliness needs take no la- 
bour or pains at all to give itself the appearance of 

Thus David here, being confirmed in hope, and 
having come out of his temptation victorious, laughs at 
all the violence and all the efforts of his calumniators 
and persecutors ; nay rather, he pities them ; saying be- 
fore them all, ' Heboid in what a state my calumniators 


are. Let* any one behold in what misery they are in* 
volved, and now much more wretched they are than I 
am. Not only does God threaten them continually, 
not only does he hang over them with a drawn sword 
and with a bow, with the vessels of death and with 
arrows that shall born them up; but the? are tor- 
mented with a present punishment now, and they now 
receive m themselves the due reward of their tftolice; 
while, with anxiety and rage, they wrack their invention* 
to find out a way wherein they may oppress toel, 
and whereby, after they have destroyed me, they may 
remain in security .themselves. They in their misery 
have more distteasing anxiety about the way in which 
they shall destroy me, than 1 have about thinking by 
whose hands I nail perish. Nay, for my part, as I 
cpmmit myself wholly unto the will of God, I expect tfM 
that may come without emotion. But they cannot be 
qoiet nor inf any rest, until they have brefcght forth aU 
th*t with which they are travailing* and have acconv* 
plfehed all then: thoughts: and yet, a* their though** 
we against righteousness and against God, they are 
seated with all such thoughts in vain, " for they ittri- 
rine such advice as they are not stole to penbraL" 
Psalm xxi. 11. 

David, however, here touches upon that which Absfc- 
Jom said, 9 Sam. xvj. 90, " Give counsel among you 
what we shall do: 9 ' at which time, many ways were 
deliberated on, and many counsels were adopted, how 
they might kill David ; but by the wonderful manage- 
ment of God, all were in vain. Just in the same way 
as the Jews tried with much labour and pain to destroy 

4 We always find, (saith Augustine,) that those endure 
the greater punishment who inflict it, than those who 
endure it : nay, this is always the case in the perpetration 
of any crime. What secret snares does not the robber 
or murderer fear ! what hour, what place, what man, 
does he consider safe ! With what fears is not the adul- 
terer tormented ! in what stratagems is he not entram- 
BeUed before he once perishes ! ' Hence, in every kind 

378 , 

of crime, and especially in that of calumny, die punish- 
ments suffered are far greater than the .advantages 
gained : for the miserable wretch is compelled to expect 
every kind of evil and every kind of danger. Whereas 
in' the meanwhile, he who trusts in God, like a fearless 
lion, despises all things in a happy security, relying upon 
a consciousness of truth and innocence. 

We are taught in this verse, therefore, to lay hold oi 
these best of all consolations when in straits and tri- 
bulations ; that, haying committed our cause unto God, 
we may not be distressed, nor over anxious, nor in per- 
turbation. It is sufficient for us to know, that we are 
acting in the cause of God. In which case, let us 
divide die sufferings with our enemies. Let us be 
vexed by them externally, while they are tormented by 
themselves internally. Let them be our burden, while 
not only we are a burden to them, but they are the 
greatest burden to themselves. Behold, therefore, the 
most miserable condition of all calumniators and un- 
godly men ! — 'God is a burden to them, we are a burden 
to them, and they are an intolerable burden to themselves ! 
Who, therefore, would not rather pity such wretched 
characters, than be impatiently indignant against them ? 
And every one of us knows, that all these things await 
-the wicked, and that such is our state, as it is here de- 
scribed. But when the hour of calumny arrives, we do 
not all continue in the same mind : being in perpetual 
fear that all things will turn out prosperously unto our 
adversaries, and against us ; though we are always ready 
to affirm that they would not so turn out against others. 

Let us, then, inquire farther, into the propriety of these 
words. — " Behold," says David ; struck as it were with 
wonder and admiration, he calls upon all to behold this 
singular sight, because it is contrary to all natural sense. 

" He travaileth with pain." Here he very appro- 
priately composes his words : for being in travail, is the 
same thing as striving with pain. As if he had said, 
Such meditate pain in pain. Which is a metaphor 
taken from women with child : in which he beautiftilly 
describes the anxious striving of the ungodly and of ca- 


lumniators : which are, as I have before said, to esta- 
blish with much care and peril their own inventions 
against the truth : in the doing of which (as the saying 
is) one lie requires seven others to make it good, and to 
make all appear truth. And Hieronymus saith, ' False- 
hood requires modi to give it the appearance of truth/ 

" And hath conceived pain." It seems proper, that 
be should have reversed this and have said, " He hath 
conceived labour and travailed with iniquity :" because 
conception is prior in order. This seems to me to be 
intended to describe to us the mind and ingenuity of 
the ungodly, who, when they are about to oppress the 
innocent,- are most impatient of delay ; and are more 
intent upon venting the malice of their minds, than 
upon consulting prudently: they begin before they 
deliberate. They are not guided by reason and counsel 
bat earned headlong by impetuosity and temerity. They 
think more about seeing the thing done, than about con- 
sulting. And when they have accomplished their wicked 
design, then thev enter into consultation, about defending 
properly what they have done. And here begins their 
labour : here is the anxious concern about defending the 
iniquity which they have presumptuously committed. 

So Absalom, after he had driven out his father David, 

end had brought forth his av£N, said, 2 Sam. xvii. SO, 

" Give counsel among you what we shall do." And so 

also the Jews first apprehended Christ, and then sought 

false witnesses against him, that they might accuse him. 

-And thus also every calumniator first brings forth his 

aven and imposes upon his neighbour, and then after- 

-wards seeks to persist therein under a show of justice and 

in security : concerning which character, Prov. xxx. 20, 

*' Such is the way of an adulterous woman : she eateth, 

and whipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no 

wickedness." These imprudent workers of iniquity, 

therefore, brain both difficulty and peril : that is, they 

bring forth weir pain, and then with much labour and 

toil endeavour to defend what they have done. 

David teaches us, therefore, that an evil committed 
before counsel is taken, brings on pain; and counsel 



after die commission, labour. And both these kinds of 
temerity and folly await such ungodly calumniators ; — 
both the act before the counsel, and the" counsel after 
the act ; for to the perverse all things are perverse. But 
one may understand this conception of labour as being 
together with the bringing forth of pain. For ungodly 
calumniators say thus, when they enter upon the com- 
mission of their evil. — Let us go on and act. After the 
act is committed, something will follow which will enable 
tis to answer for what we have done, or to defend it. 
As the Jews acted, (according to the history contained 
in the last chapter of Matthew,) when they corrupted 
the guards with money that the truth of Christ's resur- 
rection might not be published abroad : for they said, 
" And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade 
him and secure you." Only behold here how they con- 
ceive pain, while they burden themselves with a pledge 
that they will find future security. And in this same 
way did Absalom and his party audaciously bring forth 
their aven : but they have not yet brought forth the 
counsel by which they should defend their act: they 
conceive the counsel while they bring forth the act : as 
we have it written, Proverbs xiv. 16, " A wise man 
feareth and departeth from evil ; but the fool rageth and 
is confident." — And what they bring forth from this 
conception is shown in what follows. 

" And brought forth iniquity :" which, in the Hebrew, 
is lying, or falsehood, or vanity : and this exactly ac- 
cords with that which I have Mentioned as the design of 
this psalm. For these are the counsels, the defences, 
and the excuses of the godly after the committed wick- 
edness. They are mere frigid evasions, lying delusions, 
and vain deceptions, with which they set themselves oft", 
persuade the people, and destroy those whom they op- 
ptess. And such are also all their vain attempts to 
establish their own temerity. In all which, they lose 
much labour and pains, and yet, all is in vain. And 
these things we find are continually taking place in this 
our day. But in this place, we are more particularly to 
understand the deceiving and vain birth, than the ini- 

3ft 1 

quitous birth. For he is speaking of the vain attempts 
and fruitless counsel by which Absalom was deceived, 
and in which he was disappointed, when, collecting all 
Israel together, he sought to destroy David. For in all 
this, his counsel and birth all proved so vain, -that they 
fell upon his own head : and the very snares he had laid 
for David destroyed himself. 

Ver. 15. — He hath opened a lake and dug' it, and is 
fallen into the pit which he had made. 

Here the prophet allegorizes, that, as I have said be- 
fore, under the allegory, he might set forth the true state 
of things. In the same manner as the cross of Christ 
is an allegorical life ; appearing to kill while it makes 
alive: for in the same way, Absalom here opens a 
lake and digs it, that he might drive David into it ; not 
knowing, that by this very stratagem, he should deliver 
David, and destroy himself. And David touches upon 
this. — That Absalom, relying on the multitude, thought 
that he should soon destroy David, one poor solitary crea- 
ture, left and forsaken by all. For this is signified by the 
lake of death which he prepared and dug. But behold, 
this very thing happened unto himself: for being deserted 
by all, and being hung up alone upon an oak, he was 
pierced through and thrown into a deep pit in the wood, 
and a very great heap of stones was cast upon him : as 
^e have it recorded 2 Sam. xviii. This is the pit of 
which David here speaks, and which he uses for the 
allegory. But Absalom had not prepared that pit for 
David : though he intended that death for him which he 
himself suffered. Hence we say often in common life, 
that a certain trap was laid for us, and that our adver- 
sary fell into it himself, though he himself did not intend 
any such thing. Wherefore this verse is proverbial, and 
contains a common saying : according to the well-known 
lines of the poet, 

No law's more just than when the wicked schemes 
Of wicked men upon themselvea are turn'd. 


These things, as I have said, are spoken for the con- 
solation of the oppressed, that they may rest assured, 
that the evil which is planned against them will fall 
upon the head of their slanderers. And they are spoken 
also to strike terror into these calumniators and per- 
secutors ; whose daring presumption and security are to 
be alarmed, and the weakness of the oppressed to tie 
confirmed and strengthened. 

And observe how he describes the ardour and the pant- 
ing fury of the ungodly. For he does not simply say "hath 
made a lake," as he afterward said, " hath made a pit : " 
but he says, hath "opened" and "dug" a lake. As if he 
had said with Proverbs i. 16, " For their feet run to evil, 
and make haste to shed blood." So busy and laborious 
are, they in digging and preparing their lake. They leave 
nothing untried, they search into all things, and dive into 
every expedient. And not content with " opening " 
only, they " dig " the lake and make it deep, that 
they may, the more terribly and effectually destroy the 

Thus the Jews, though they hastened to destroy. 
Christ, and made every preparation for that purpose ; 
yet, they were not content with any simple kind of 
death, but digging as it were a most deep pit, they pro- 
cured for him the most ignominious death of the cross. 
And so every calumniator, is not contented with de- 
stroying his neighbour in the most dreadful manner, but 
he will do it in the most ignominious manner also. 

This ignominious death is indicated by the digging 
the lake deeper which was already prepared : because 
the person cast in, is by so much the further from the 
light and hope of reparation the deeper he is plunged in. 
For no ungodly man is such a fool as to suffer the least 
appearance to exist of his having destroyed the innocent 
without cause : nay, the more malignant he is, the more 
he seeks to make it appear that his own cause was most 
just, and that his neighbour was destroyed as having 
most basely deserved it. And therefore, such an one must 
dig the lake deep that is already opened and prepared. 
But, on the other hand, he is not said to have ' opened,' 


nor to have 'dug' the pit for himself, but to have 'made' 
it: because he did not seek his own destruction and 
shame, but fell into them when he least expected it 

And again, there is here a solecism. " He is fallen 
into the pit, he made it : " where our translators add 
the relative u which : " but I should have put ' because, 9 
or* for;' as I have observed above at ver. 6. And 
where we have "he hath opened," the Hebrew has u he 
hath prepared." Though these are things of no conse- 
quence, because, in either case, we understand it, that 
the lake was prepared before it was dug; which is 
contrary to the general ideas of all; because, David 
would have us to understand by it that which I have set 

Ver. 16. — His pain shall return upon his own head, 
and his iniquity shall come down upon his own pate. 

The word here is not aven, but amal; which 
properly signifies, pain, and labour, as I have before 
observed. " His labour (says David) shall return upon 
his own head." — And " iniquity " here is in the Hebrew, 
a word that we have not had before; it is hamas; 
which properly signifies, rapacity, violence, or an injury 
which by force arrogates to itself a tyranny ; in the 
same way as hawks seize upon little birds. For 
Reuchlin says that the night hawk is named from this 

word HAMAS. 

David has respect to that which he said in the be- 
ginning, " Lest he seiae my soul like a lion." For 
Absalom, having collected all the people, had prepared 
to seize David by force and to devour him ; whereas, 
he was miserably seized and devoured himself; and thus 
his attempts and his labour all fell upon his own head. 
And the sense seems to be the same as that contained 
in the preceding verse ; the allegory of which he here 
explains in plain words. Unless it be considered to 
differ from the preceding in this — that in the preceding 
verse the work or act was designed, that is, death and 
perdition, set forth by the "lake" and "the pit;" and in 
this, the counsel and wisdom by which the lake and pit 

' . ■ • 3*4 

were prepared and dug: that we may 'understand, that 
Crod is so concerned for those who are oppressed with 
calumny, and so wrath against their calumniators, that 
lie turns the evil which they planned, and the counsel by 
which they planned it, upon themselves ; and that thus, 
We may not faint nor fallfrom our hope. 

For this is the incomprehensible manner of the 
judgment of God, that he takes the ungodly by their very 
(Jwn counsel, and casts them into the destruction which 
(hey had themselves prepared and invented. Thus 
Goliah fell by his own sword. And thus it is said, Job 
1r. 12, ** He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so 
dxat their hands cannot perform their enterprize. He 
(aketh the wise in their own craftiness : and the counsel 
of* the froward is carried headlong. They meet with 
darkness in the day-time, and grope in the noon-day fes 
in the night : " that is, they are then the most foolish 
and most blind, when they are, in their own views, the 
most clear-sighted and wise. 

With a powerful force of language therefore, he 
calls their counsels/ their craftiness, and their cunning, 
labour. And indeed they have nothing from all this but 
labour : for the expected fruits of all their devices never 
follow, because God resists them. And so, in the case 
of the Jews, who meditated the destruction of Christ, — 
what did they else but labour in vain, and (as it is said, 
Psalm xi.) " meditate a vain thing ? " But David here 
does not only call it labour, but says that it 'returned 
upon their own head:' for that very counsel which 
Absalom had formed for the destruction of David, rely- 
ing upon the multitude, — by that very counsel he himself 
perished : who would have been safer, if, according to 
the counsel of Ahithophel, he had remained in the city 
and sent out those two thousand men. But, as the 
scripture saith, by the will of God, the useful counsel of 
Ahithophel was disregarded, that the Lord might bring 
upon Absalom the evil intended. 

The scripture holds out consolation to us, when it 
teaches us, that the ferocity of the wicked is nothing but 
ft mere great and Vain attempt rather than any act, and 


such an attempt as will surely fall upon the heads of the 
projectors of it. So the waves and swellings of the sea 
seem as if they would overwhelm the shore, but it pre- 
sently falls back upon itself and vanishes, leaving its 
threatening surges a laughing-stock to the spectators. 

This ngure of speech is very common in the scrip- 
tures, this returning, or falling, or, descending upon the 
head, and upon the pate, &c. Thus we have it written, 
Eccles. xxvii. 25 — 27, " Whoso casteth a stone on high 
casteth it on his own head ; and a deceitful stroke shall 
make wounds. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein : 
and he that setteth a trap shall be taken therein. He that 
worketh mischief it shall fall upon him, and he shall not 
know whence it cometh." And with the same figure it is 
said, 2 Sam. i. 16, " Thy blood be upon thy head/ 9 
And indeed all things both evil and good that are in- 
voked, are invoked upon the head. So Deut. xxxiii. 16, 
4 Let the blessing of him that dwelt in the bush come 
upon the head of Joseph. 9 Because, the head is the first 
and most worthy member of the whole body. And 
David indicates at the same time that both good and 
evil is sent down upon the head by God, both the pu- 
nishment of the ungodly and the salvation of the godly. 
And therefore, it is by the commandment of God that 
the iniquity of the calumniator descends upon his own 
pate, and his labour upon his own head. 

But, by a repetition, the returning of the labour 
upon the pate, and the descending of the iniquity upon 
the head, seem to indicate the same thing. And it is 
thus repeated, that its certainty might be set forth, as we 
have before observed. For the ungodly being insensible 
laugh at all the threatenings of God, as if they would 
never take place, or at least were put off for a consider- 
able time ; and therefore these terrible things are to be. 
inculcated upon them repeatedly. 

Ver. 17. — / will praise the Lord according to his 
righteousness : and will sing praise to the name of the 
Lord most high. 

He concludes this Psalm and prayer in a beautiful 

VOL.IM. 2 c 


way. As if he had said, All these things have been said, 
tod all these petitions have I put up on account of the 
carsings, the calumnies, and the injuries of Shimei and 
of his men, in defence of my ignorance and innocence, 
as far as my conscience is concerned, and with respect 
to these things in the sight of men. But I do not trust in 
this my righteousness, nor do I consider it to be such as 
that I can stand in it before God : as the Apostle saith, 
1 Cor. iv. 4, " I am conscious of nothing to myself; yet 
am I not thereby justified." And again, 1 Cor. i. 20, 
" He that glorieth let him glory in the Lord." " For not 
lie that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the 
Lord commendeth." And so also, I have another righ- 
teousness in which I glory, namely, the righteousness of 
God, and his mercy and grace whereby he pardons all 
py sins and justifies me in his sight. In which righte- 
ousness I do not boast, nor do I make a confession of 
it as if it were my own : but I praise God for it unto all 
eternity. Wherefore, by means of my own righteousness 
I will willingly serve God and the people and resist the 
ungodly : and in the righteousness of God I will profit 

Here, in a wonderful manner, in the same verse and 
in the same words, David gives thanks unto God and 
praises his righteousness, and also describes the nature 
of it. — He says it is the free gift of God, and for which 
he is to be praised and celebrated. Wherefore, "accord- 
ing to his righteousness," is here to be understood as 
signifying the same as * on account of, or for, his righte- 
ousness.' So that the sense is, ' I will praise the Lord 
for ever, because it is he that justifieth ; which, if he did 
not do, my righteousness which I have in my own con- 
science could never stand/ And this sense is supported 
by what follows, which is as it were a repetition of these 
words, "And will sing praise unto the name of the Lord 
most high." For the name of the Lord, as we have said 
above, is his praise which is proclaimed abroad, — that 
he is merciful and a Saviour, &c. : and the man that be- 
lieves in this name, is justified and saved : for God is 
wch as he is believed to be by every man. But the 


damned and the ungodly ascribe to him no name at all* 
The . former, because they cannot hope any good from 
him ; and the latter, because they do not feel the want 
of him. Hence it is written, Prov. xviii. 10, " The name 
of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth 
Into it and is safe." And Rom. x. 1 3, " For who- 
soever shall call upon the* name of the Lord shall be 

As therefore righteousness, salvation, and a joyful 
conscience, come from this name only by our firmly be- 
lieving in it, and not from our own strength, doings, or 
works, the Psalmist rightly teaches, that righteousness is 
to be ascribed only unto the Lord, and that he only is 
to be sung unto, praised, proclaimed, and celebrated : in 
order that others, being brought to the knowledge of that 
name by this confession and proclaiming, may believe ii\ 
it and be saved. And David saith almost the same 
thing, Psalm li. 1 3, " Then will I teach transgressors 
thy way, and sinners shall be converted unto thee." And 

Z'n, Psalm xxxv. 28, " And my tongue shall speak 
d of thy righteousnesss." Whereas the ungodly 
do not exalt his righteousness, as we have often said 

Wherefore this confessing and singing do not in this 
place signify any private duty of gratitude only, but also 
the public ministry of the Word of grace, whereby the 
name of the Lord is manifested to sinners. 

The words of this Psalm are very necessary, and 
will be found very useful, when prayed against the devil, 
either in the hour of death or in any other time of deep 
temptation. For the devil himself is properly that 
calumniator, who accuses us and confounds our con- 
science even for those things which we have done rightly, 
and which please God, as well as magnifies beyond 
measure those things which we have done badly ; and 
he is therefore in both cases a most oppressive and un- 
wearied Shimei, a most black, a cursing, and an insulting 
Ethiopian : continually coming upon us with such words 
as these, ' Behold thine evils are now come upon thee. 
Come out, come out, thou bloody man. The Lord is 



V-- •*. 

nojf bringing upon thy head all the blood of the 
hfiiise of Saul. 9 And indeed we may take all the 
rest of this history as having a figurative meaning ; 
Wherein David is an example of us> all, and teaches us, 
tfyat we ought to bear these things, and at the same time 
to expect the blessing of God for all such cursing aad 





* . i,- ■ 

4 We have here anew title: and what David here 
paeans by the wine-presses, has been discussed with so 
much disputation, that I am ready to confess myself 
1A total ignorance, who, among so many, comes the 
nearest to the truth. There are only Three Psalms that 
liave this title l For the wine-presses/ the present Ps. viii. 
of David, the lxx. of Asaph, and the lxxxiv. for the sons of 
Itorah. It is not likely, however, that David (which is 
grafted by all the most eminent Hebrews) composed 
this Psalm in the wine-presses of Palestine : because 
tjbeo, for the same reason, it would follow that. Asaph 
aad the sons of Korah composed their Psalm in the 
$ame place. Nor do we read that David was ever in the 
Wine-presses of Palestine, but in those of Gath (which 
afterwards by a lengthening of letters was called Gaza) 
a city of Palestine : though Gath signifies a wine-press 
(tarcular) and has the same signification as the words 
al gitith have here, which is, i On the wine-presses/ — 
Nor am I satisfied with the opinions of some who sup- 
pose that this Psalm was composed to be sung at the 
feast of tabernacles, where thanks were given to God 
after the harvesting of all the fruits, and the gathering 
ef*e grapes/ 


Therefore, as we are here going according to thtf 
literal meaning, I am inclined to coincide with the opi- 
nion of Lyranus; who thinks that gitith is a name 
proper to some musical instrument. Or else, we must 
go by the ancient fathers; who, following a mystical 
meaning, understand by wine-presses (torcularia,) the 
martyrdoms and sufferings of Christ and the Church, 
And indeed there are other Psalms also entitled by some 
word or other that is not in common use, (as we shall 
see in their proper places,) in order to move us to search 
into their spiritual meaning. Leaving, therefore, every 
one to his own judgment in this matter, we may rightly 
affirm/ that wine-presses do signify, mystically, suffer- 
ings : as in Isaiah lxiii. 2, " I have trodden the wine- 
press alone : " which all understand as having reference 
to the sufferings of Christ. 

But Augustine very learnedly and discerningly un- 
derstands by wine-press (torcular) the ministry df the 
Word of God in the church : consonant with which are, 
many scriptures : as that of Isa. v. 2, " And also made 
a wine-press therein." For as oxen treading out the corn 
in the barn signify the preachers of the Word, 1 Cor. ix. 
9 : so, the treaders in the wine-press signify the same. 
And hence, grapes and ears of corn, wine and wheat, 
every where in the scriptures signify the people, who are 
either instructed or hardened by the Word of God. Of 
whom we have not time to say more now. 

And this meaning exactly agrees with the scope of 
the Psalm : wherein is described the name of the Lord 
which is great throughout all the earth, the people of 
Christ who are obedient to his government, and his ene- 
mies who are destroyed. And when it is said that he 
hath perfected praise and exalted his own glory out of 
the mouth of babes and sucklings; by that is doubt- 
lessly signified, the preaching of the Gospel and of the 
Word o? the cross ; by which, all these things ever have 
been and still are accomplished. For certainly the Word 
of the cross, like a wine-press, bruises and humbles the 
men of the world, and collects many into one body, as 
the wine is collected into the receiving vessel. Hence, it 


was the design of the Prophet to sing here of a spiritual 
wine- press. It is not, however, foreign to the scope of 
the Psalm, to understand by wine-presses, sufferings ; be- 
cause, the word of the cross crucifies the old man, and 
compels him to endure many and various sufferings. 

Ver. ] . — O Lord our Lord, how admirable is thy 
name in all the earth. For thy greatness is lifted up 
above the heavens. 

This is one verse in the Hebrew, And in the He- 
brew also, the one of these names is the sacred Tetra- 
grammatdn, and the other the name A don, which is 
common and" applicable to men also. Our translator 
has moreover thought proper to put " our Lord" (Do- 
minus noster) in the nominative, which Hieronymus has 
more properly rendered by the vocative (Domine 9 Domi- 
nator noster). 

" Admirable," which is in the Hebrew adir, signifies 
high, great, excellent, &c. Hence Hieronymus has ren- 
dered it, * How great is thy name/ And what our 
translator has rendered " greatness," he has translated 
4 glory.' But the Hebrew word Hod signifies properly, 
praise and confession. And it is from this word that the 
names of Judah and Judeah are derived, which have 
the signification of praising or confessing. Hence we 
have it, Gen. xlix. 8, "Judah, thou art he whom thy 
brethren shall praise." 

" For thy greatness is lifted up above the heavens." 
In the 148tn Psalm, ver. 13, David said, " His confes- 
sion, (or praise, or glory,) is above the earth and the 
heaven." He seems therefore to say the same thing in 
both Psalms. In Ps. cxlviii. 13, he says, " his name 
alone is excellent :" here he says, " how admirable is thy 
name." There he says, " his praise is above the earth 
and heaven :" here, " his gfeatness is lifted up above the 

. I here take k for granted that it is clearly known, 
from what has been said, that the name of God is not 
one but, many : that is, every thing that can be said 
which is good. So that the name of God is, that good 


report, glory, estimation, and celebration, whereby be is 
proclaimed, believed in, hoped in, known, loved, and 
feared, (that is, truly'worshipped and honoured,) as the 
only wise, powerful, good, just, true, sweet, &c. And 
whereby, at the same time, all the glory and good opi- 
nion of man perishes ; and no one is any longer found 
to be powerful, wise, and good, but all are found to be 
(as the Apostle saith) sinners, and to cojne short of the 
glory of God, who before were impiously righteous and 
full of their own glory : as it is said also Psalm ix. 5, 
" Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed 
the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and 

For no one now who believes in Christ is strong by 
his own power, but is weakened and made to endure suf- 
ferings. Nor does he revenge or deliver himself even 
when it may be in his power; but he gives glory to 
God, and waits for his delivering and avenging power : 
even as Paul, 8 Cor. xii. 5, glories in his infirmities.— 
And so also, no one that thus believeth is wise in his own 
wisdom, but becomes a fool in his own eyes and before all 
men, and gives all the glory of wisdom unto God, who, 
when he hath proved him, will give him the glory of wis- 
dom in the heavens. — And so also no Christian is righte- 
ous in his own righteousness, but gives all the glory of 
righteousness unto God, and he himself in his own eyes, 
and in the estimation of men, is numbered among the 
ungodly ; so that * in his humiliation his judgment is 
taken away, 9 and he is justified by faith and hope, ex- 
pecting the righteousness of God as that alone which 
Can commend him ; " For not he that commendeth him- 
self is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth," 
9 Cor. x. 1 8. And this is the meaning and force of the 
J^ronoun " thy name," for David thereby opposes the 
*3ame of the Lord to all the names and glory of men ; 
^nd shews that the Lord's name is then magnified, 
exalted, and loved, when our name is reduced to nothing 
^nd hated both by ourselves and all others. ' 

And this same thing he has also, Psalm cxiii. 3, 
*' From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the 


Mine, the Lord's name is to be praised/' And again 
ver. 4, " The Lord is high above all nations, and his 
dory above the heavens." And Malachi i. 11, " For 
irom the rising of the sun, even unto the going down of 
the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles." 
And again, ibid. " For my name shall be great among 
the heathen." And Isaiah xi. 9, " They shall not hurt 
nor destroy in all my holy mountain." And why shall 
they not destroy ? " For, (saith he) the earth shall be filled 
with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover 
the sea/' As if he had said, The knowledge of God, 
and the magnifying of his name, which, by the means of 
th£ Gospel, shall fill the whole world like an overflowing 
sea,- shall make men gentle, mild, and innocent: be- 
cause they shall contend neither for wisdom nor for 
power, nor for righteousness, for they shall know that 
these are not theirs, but of the Lord only. And to the 
same end are those words of Isaiah ii. 17, 13, "And 
the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the 
haughtiness of man shall be laid low : and the Lord 
alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols shall 
he utterly abolish." 

We would, however, distinguish the two words, 
" Lord," and " our Lord," in this way. — That by fhe 
former is represented the all-high Godhead dwelling in 
himself: and by the latter, his kingdom and care whereby 
he holds dominion over us, and rules us by the word of 
faith, which is fulfilled by the incarnation of Christ, 
who is our propitiation, " in whom dwelleth all the ful- 
ness of the Godhead," Col. ii. 9 : for it is by that we 
are brought nigh unto the Father, and ruled in the world. 
As John xiv. 6, " No one cometh unto the Father but 
by me." Hence it is not without reason that the pro- 
noun " our" is rather joined with " governor" than with 
" Lord." Therefore, God was first known in Judea, 
and his name was great in Israel. But now (saith 
David) thy name is great in all the earth, and among all 
nations. Hence, you see how well this verse accords 
With the title : seeing that, the name of the Lord being 
Made great by the wine-press of preaching, has humbled 


out of the nations of the whole world into the oner' 
faith and grace of Christ. 

But however, it is of much greater moment for us to 
know what that is which follows. " For thy greatness 
is lifted np above the heavens." The Hebrew and th6 
translation of Hieronymus is thus, f who hast set/* 
not, " is lifted up." — I find that by this glory, or great* : 
ness, or praise,- almost all understand Christ the Son of"; 
God, who, being received into heaven, and seated at the : 
right hand of God, sent down the Holy Spirit, who, by 
the apostles magnified the name of God throughout thfe : 
whole world. ■"-* 

Nor am I displeased at the opinion of those who say 1 ' 
that tfaiar latter clause of the verse gives the reason or * 
cause of the former : that is, that the name of God i* J 
magnified because Christ ascended into heaven. For ; 
Christ could not have been glorified but by" the sending ; 
of .die Holy Ghost: as it is written, Rota. i. 3, * who : 
was declared to be the Son of God, with power, accord- 
ing to die Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from Ale' 
dead." And Jo^n xvi. H>, " He shall glorify me : 
for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you.* 9 • 
And the Spirit could not have been sent if Christ had 
not risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, unto 
the appointment of king over all nations : as it is written, 
John vii. 39, " For the Holy Ghost was not yet given, 
because that Jesus was not yet glorified." And so also, 
Psalm ii. Christ said that he would declare the com- 
mand, (which is fulfilled by the Holy Ghost,) after he 
had said that he was appointed king upon God's holy 
hill of Zion. 

It seems, however, to make somewhat against this 
acceptation, that Christ being called the ' praise,' or 
' confession, 9 does not seem to agree well with that verse 
of Psalm cxlviii. 1 3, " His glory is above the earth and 
heaven :" nor with that of Psalm cxiii. 4, " The Lord 
» high above all nations, and his glory above the hea- 
vens :" because, in those passages, the confession is not 
°nlv said to be above th6 tieavens, but above the earth j 
**f»o*e understands that Christ is intended by eon- 


fession in those passages. But these things ought not to 
move any one, because Christ is called the glory of God. 
Isaiah xlvi. 13, "I will place salvation in Zion, and 
my glory in Israel/' And. it is in the same manner 
also that the Apostle dares to call him the righteous- 
ness, the power, the wisdom, the glory, the redemption, 
and the sanctification of God : because, by and through 
him we acknowledge and confess God to be powerful, 
wise, glorious, &c. And again, while we honour and 
worship God by this sacrifice of righteousness, wisdom, 
power, &c. he justifies us, strengthens us, and makes us 
wise : as he saith 1 Sam. ii. 30, " Them that honour 
me I will honour, and they that despise trie shall be 
lightly esteemed." For this is the sacrifice of praise by 
which (as he saith Psalm 1.) he is honoured, and which 
is the way to the salvation of God. And no one offers 
this sacrifice but he who has experienced the destruction 
of his own name, and calls in faith upon the name of 
God ; that is, upon the wisdom, power, and righteous- 
ness of God, as I said ; permitting himself in jthe mean*- 
time to be weak, a fool, and unrighteous. So that we 
are glorified with the same glory as God is, made 
righteous with the same righteousness, and wise by the 
wisdom as God. And this is what Peter saith, 3d 
Epist. i. whereby are given unto us exceedingly great 
and precious promises, that by these ye might be par- 
takers of the divine nature: which are things (as he 
saith 1 Epist. i. 1 2) that the angels desire to look into. 

Hence by this " confession " or glory lifted up into 
heaven, we understand Christ. But we also learn the 
benefits which we derive from his being thus lifted up, or 
having thus ascended. " It is expedient for you (saith 
Christ, John xvi. 7,) that I go away, for if I go not 
away, the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I 
depart, I will send him unto you." For the prophet 
wishes to say this — that the praise wherewith God is 
praised in us and we in him, is far different from all the 
praise of men. Our praise, as it is the praise of God, or 
from God, is not openly visible, or open to the eyes of 
the world, nor apparent unto meq, nor even unto oar- 


selves. Nati as our life is hid with Christ in God 
(Col. iii. 3,) that we may be wise unto the things that 
are above, so our praise is taken up into heaven with 
him, and hid with him in God, that our hope may be in 
that, and not in any thing present. 

Hence, the praise of God, wherewith both he and we 
are praised, is the same, and it is the same glory and 
greatness : as it is written, Psalm civ. ' That we may 
glory in thy praise.' Again, Psalm xx. 7, " But we will 
remember the name of the Lord our God." And also, 
Psalm xxxiv. S, " My soul shall make her boast in the 
Lord." Because while we are stripped of all our own 
name, and suffering under ignominy, we are those truly 
humble ones whom God regards, and those hungry souls 
who God satisfies. 

It was right the prophet should use this summary 
term 'praise' or 'glory' or ' greatness,' because he 
spoke at a time when the truth was not yet revealed. But 
what this praise was, and what it contained, was left for 
the apostles to show forth clearly. And these taught, 
that he who would be praised rightly and truly should 
praise God above all things ; and that he praises God 
above all things who ascribes unto God alone righteous- 
ness, wisdom, power, and all good things, and gives 
back the glory of them all to him when he receives 
them. And this no one does but he who lives in faith, 
hope, and love, being oppressed in the world with weak- 
ness, foolishness, and sins, both in his own eyes and in 
the sight of men : and none can endure this easily but 
those who are partakers of faith and hope. 

The sum therefore, of the whole verse is this. — That 
there is a certain intercourse between God and. men 
through Christ, formed by a wonderful and all-sweet 
communion. Men have nothing in the world more 
sweet than the name of the Lord : him they praise, 
proclaim, and confess before men, as alone powerful, 
wise, holy, and righteous. And this is for the name of 
the Lord to be great, admirable, celebrated, and of 
great estimation in the world; and this is what was 
wrought by the coming of Christ On the other hand 


Christ himself stands round about those who thus pro- 
claim him; confess him before men, and acknowledge his 
name; and passing by he administers to them, praises 
them, proclaimsthem, and confesses them before his Father 
and his angels in heaven ; he acknowledges their name, 
and is himself their glory and praise in heaven, as they 
are his glory and praise on earth. This is what David 
means when he says, " Thy greatness is Jifted tip above 
the heavens." So that this glory is the glory of God 
whereby we- are praised and glorious before him, and 
whereby his name is admirable in being praised and 
glorified by us before men. 

'■ In this mutual intercourse of names and praise 
agree many passages of the scriptures, and are- by it 
made plain to our understanding. It is to this that 
Psalm Ixxii. 14, refers, " And precious shall their blood 
be in his sight." And again, Psalm xci. 14, "I will set him 
on high because he hath known my name." And so also 
the spouse in Song ii. 16, " My beloved to me and I to 
him." And Psalm cxi. 3, u Praise and greatness are his 
work." And again, "The earth is full of his praise," 
w The heavens and the earth are full of his glory." For 
in this communication stands that righteousness of God 
by which we are justified: while we proclaim and honour 
him in that which we ought, he on the other hand 
honours us. 

But, as I said, as it is easy to say and to understand 
this communication of praise between God and us, so 
it is difficult to come to the experience of it. For it is a 
difficult matter to be stripped of all our own name both 
in this world and in that which is to come, and to 
become nothing both in our own eyes and before all 
men : and yet if it be not so, the name of God cannot 
be great unto us upon earth, nor his praise above the 
heavens : for the name of the Lord must first of all be 
magnified upon the earth before his praise can be lifted 
up above the heavens. Hence the Blessed Virgin saith, 
" My soul doth magnify the Lord," Luke i. 46 : and 
then, being certain that she was magnified in heaven be- 
citoeof this her magnifying the Lord, she says, "-And 


my spirit hath rejoiced in God in my Saviour." For it 
is impossible that he should not be blessed of God who 
blesseth God. Nor is it possible that any one should 
love, praise, and delight in God, without God's loving, 
praising, and delighting in him in return. 

But here perhaps the simple soul will raise a scruple, 
who has so often heard, that our love to God does not 
precede his love to us : as it is written, John iv. 10, 
" Not that we loved God, but that he loved us." And 
Rom. xi. 35, " Who hath first given to him and it 
shall be recompensed unto him again?" And again, 
John xv. 16, " Ye have not chosen me, but I have 
chosen you." And also, John vi. 44, " No man can 
come unto me except the Father which hath sent me 
draw him." How then, it will be asked, can we first mag- 
nify him that he may magnify us ? The answer will be — 
The Holy Scripture describes both of thes£, both the 
grace of God, and the fruits of that grace. Therefore, a 
great deal of care must be taken that we do not under- 
stand that of the tree itself which is said of the fruits : for 
if this chaos be introduced, that error of the Pelagians 
concerning free-will will follow; which ascribes unto 
man the beginning of a good work. Whereas, God alone 
makes the tree good before us, and without us, which 
must of necessity precede the fruits: but it must equally 
of necessity follow that the fruits must precede the 

Wherefore, this part of the Psalm, and all other pas- 
sages like it, do not refer to initial grace, but to the 
final grace, that is, the reward itself, which is given to 
the first grace and its fruits : and therefore, we are not 
to understand by these passages any kind of exhortation 
to a perseverence in good works from this promise of 
the mutually rewarding goodness of God. Thus he, who, 
being converted, praises God, that is, lives from received 
grace, to the glory of God on earth, — such an one God 
praises in return, at the same time, and for ever in 
heaven : at the same time (I say) and for ever : that is, 
at the present time and for ever. For he that glorifies 
God in his life, cannot but feel a joyful and quiet trust 


in the mercy of God, by which he knows that he in re- 
turn pleases God and is praised in heaven. Therefore, 
our praise of the name of the Lord in the earth is almost 
heavenly, though before men we are continually vexed 
with ignominy. 

But according to their opinion who understand that 
the latter part of this verse is, as it were, the cause of 
the former (among whom is our translator also,) we must 
say, that the praise of God above the heavens is prior to 
the greatness of the name of the Lord upon earth ; and 
that Christ effected the latter by his ascending above the 
heavens, and by sending down the Holy Spirit to mag- 
nify the name of the Lord upon the earth, as we have 
said. Therefore, John vii. 39 saith, " Now the Spirit 
was not yet given, because that Christ was not yet glo- 
rified." And hence, by the f praise' of God here, nothing 
can be understood but the personal exaltation of Christ 
into heaven. 

It would not require much trouble to defend both 
these acceptations of the passage, for they are not very 
different from each'other; because it is manifest, that it 
is by the exaltation of Christ that it comes to pass, 
that, having received the Holy Spirit, we believe in 
God, and that we are well-pleasing and commended in 
heaven ; and that it is by the same spirit that we are 
emboldened to magnify the name of the Lord upon 
the earth. By all which it is signified, that Christ's 
being exalted would have been of no service to us, 
unless he had been exalted for us: that is, unless, when 
he ascended up on high, he had given gifts unto us men, 
whereby we might magnify him upon earth. But all 
these things I here leave to each one's own judgment. 

Ver. 2.— Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings 
hast thou ordained praise, because of thine enemies, that 
thou mightest still the enemy and avenger. 

This verse appropriately follows that wherein we 
said, that by the ' glory lifted up' we ought to under- 
stand the ascension of Christ : though it does not unap- 


propriately agree with the other sense also : wherefore, 
we will show that it harmonizes with both in this way. — 
Thy name, O Lord, is magnified, but in a far different 
way from that in which it is magnified among men. 
For the manner of men is (if it may be called a 
manner,) not to be praised by the humble and the con- 
temptible, but by the greatly wise. They wish to please 
the few (as they term it,) and to be looked upon by the 
great, the wise, and the powerful. And again, those 
praisers, as they are the vainest of men, never praise 
any but with a view to their own profit, that theyalso 
might be praised or might reap some advantage. Thus, 
mules rub each other : and in the same manner neither 
those who praise are sincere, nor are those upright who 
are praised. This, I say, is the way with all those who 
are influenced and led by the appearance of things 

But thou, O Son of God, (David would say,) 
as all thy things are hidden and obscure, and only 
to be understood by faith, thou dost not find any 
among these great ones who will praise thee : nay ra- 
ther, they are the very persons who will most pertina- 
ciously resist thy praise and glory, from a maddened 
love of their own glory. Wherefore, thou hast chosen 
the despised and the humble to set forth thy praise, and 
to magnify thy name, who hate their own name upon 
the earth, being content that thou shouldst be their 
praise in heaven. And that thou mightest manifest this, 
after thou hadst assumed thy glory, thou didst send thy 
Holy Spirit down from heaven, being thyself the Apostle 
of all apostles, and didst instruct the ignorant and sim- 
ple, and from their mouth didst perfect thy praise. 

But the words of Christ have given rise to a great 
question in this passage, who, Matt. xxi. 16, adducing 
this passage, applies it to the children that praised him 
in the temple, saying unto the chief-priests and the 
scribes, who wanted to hinder them, " Have ye never 
read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast 
perfected praise ? " Now if this Psalm be understood as 
applying literally to these children, as some will have it, 



thert neither that which precedes nor that which follows 
will harmonize with it : for he is speaking of the name of 
the Lord magnified throughout the whole world which 
took place after the passibn. And again, if we stick so 
dose to the literal meaning, these children were not 
"infants" nor "sucklings," for they blessed and sung to 
ptirist in plainly articulated words, crying, " Hosanna in 
the highest." 

But again, we ought not in any way to dissent from 
Christ who applied this verse to them : for this autho- 
rity is to be preferred to the Psalm. It follows, therefore, 
that the words of this Psalm are general and applicable 
to all who are simple and upright in heart, who are not 
wise above others, nor prudent in the things of the world, 
that is, who are the children of light : the generation of 
whom are not confined to any particular age, but are 
found in every generation and in every age of man : and 
the words are peculiarly applicable to children, not 
only because they are thus simple and sincere, but also 
because, by this simplicity and innocence, they figure 
out to us corporally the simplicity of the faith of Christ : 
according to that of 1 Pet. ii. " As new-born bab^s de- 
sire the sincere milk of the Word." For children do not 
affect delight and overcome us by their wisdom, power, 
or greatness, but by their impotence, ignorance, and 
littleness. So, the praisers of Christ conquered the 
world, and magnified the name of the Lord in all the 
earth, not by human strength, not by the words .of 
human wisdom, not by the magnitude of giants, but by 
the foolishness of the Word, and by the offence of the 


This verse, therefore, sings of the wonders of divine 
power, which could magnify its name throughout the 
world in so miraculous and unthought-of a manner. 
And this was done, first, in the midst of those who most 
madly magnified their own name, and moreover most 
pertinaciously resisted the name of the Lord. It would 
have been a great thing for God only to have de- 
stroyed the name of all the kings, the wise ones, and the 
righteous ones upon earth, and to have reduced them 




to nothing, and have erected his own name in their stead. 
But, in the second place, he whose name, was thus 
magnified never appeared any where, but was made 
known by the Word only. Whereas, the great ones of 
the earth Could be present themselves, and could openly 
show their possessions and the things whereby they 
raised to themselves a name. And in the third place, 
which was perhaps the greatest of all, this invisible 
Christ was magnified in the fall of all visible pomp ; 
and that, not by giants, by men of fame, of learning, of 
wealth, or of nobility, but by fishermen, by fools, infants, 
and sucklings, and without any appearance of power or 
wisdom : whereas, their adversaries were surrounded by 
multitudes, and attended by the voices of the most wise, 
most eloquent, and most powerful. 

And hence it is said, " Out of the mouth of babes 
and sucklings hast thou perfected strength," that the 
expression may convey the greater wonder. But some 
being offended at the word " strength," have rendered it 
4 praise, ' considering the former an absurdity, perhaps, 
as not properly according with the words " Out of the 
mouth," and therefore they used the word ' praise ' as 
more agreeable to the general ideas and apprehensions 
of readers. And although by *' strength " here may 
rightly be understood the strength preached, by a figure 
of expression, and by a Hebrew idiom, yet, in my judg- 
ment, we should rather understand that which is strong, 
powerful, and mighty, and which all the adversaries are 
not able to resist: as it is said also, Psalm cxli. 8, 
"They shall hear my words, for they are able :" that is, 
for they are made firm and mighty. 

So that we are here to understand also, at the same 
time, that Christ has wrought all things in the uorld by 
the mouths alone of those who preach the Gospel, and 
has by their weakness subverted all strength and power, 
by their foolishness all wisdom, and by their offence all 
religions. For the weakness of God is stronger than 
men, and the foolishness of God is wiser than men. In 
this manner also Luke frequently mentions, in the Acts 
of the Apostles, that the Word of God increased greatly 

VOL. II. 2 D 


and was mighty ; thereby proving and exemplifying the 
substance of this verse. 

And here also the rulers of the churches of Christ 
are to be called together, that, being instructed by these 
words, they might learn their duty. For the power and 
strength of Christ and the church is not procured from 
the world, the church does not call for the aid of the se- 
cular arm, it does not threaten fire and sword, it does 
not trust in the arms of kings and princes, but its strength 
is perfected out of the mouth of babes and sucklings. 
David therefore, without doubt, here teaches, that he 
who studies to magnify the name of God otherwise 
upon the earth than by the mouth of babes and suck- 
lings, rather blasphemes, and is proved to magnify his 
own name rather than the name of the Lord. And such 
are all those who madly imagine that the Turks, infidels, 
and heretics, at the present day, are to be attacked, not 
by the Word of God, (of which they know nothing,) but 
1 by war and worldly tumult, or by the clamours of abuse 
and revilings ; that is, they presume to conquer by those 
very things which are themselves conquered by the 
mouth of babes and sucklings : and thus they turn the 
mild and gentle mouth of sucklings, into the bloody 
mouths of giants : that is, they turn the sweet Word of 
God into the tyrannies of their own traditions. If, there- 
fore, any one sees this evil and is willing to leave it, let 
him at length learn what he ought to do, and how to act, 
that he may rule the people rightly. 

First then " Out of the mouth," saith David, A 
most important admonition, but a most faithful one unto 
those who are employed in the ministry of the Word in 
the church. For then is the Word rightly handled when 
the mouth is distinguished from the Word : and when it 
is known that the Word is not his who preaches ; nay, 
that it is not he who preaches at all, but Christ who 
speaks in him. Hence Paul, 2 Cor. xiii. 3, ' Do ye seek 
a proof of Christ speaking in me/ And he might have 
here said, Babes have perfected praise ; but rash fable- 
followers are to be blamed, who, without paying any re- 
. gard to the Holy Spirit, pour out upon the people 


whatever comes into their mind, Of fffthet, into their 
mouth* Nay farther, some sea*eh and strive that tbqy 
may not preach solid thinss ; that is, tb*t Cbrjst may 
apt preaqh his own Word, hat that they may teaqh 
theirs. Hence it follows, that they not<my dp not de- 
stroy the enemy apd avenger, but even strengths his 
hands, apd make him a mocker. And of this same.sqrt 
ai* those also, who, being confident of tfc greatness and 
importance of the doctrine that they biro conceived ip 
their ow* bjain, dream that their peril is gratt if tjhev dp 
not teach it to others aim: imagining fo themtetveq, 
th*t they hawataktnt committed to them,£nd tbpt they 
are burying it in the earth, and must thw&w expect the 
severe sentence of their 1,0*1.— With such widictdoys 
hfuiUes does thp devil laugh at tfteii phantoms! 

Such, therefore, being instructed by this vm% Wight 
tp know, that it is not we who tea*& «u>* our word 
which is taught : and that it is ophf ouf mouth that js 
made to observe in his Word whep & pteftsev to call # 
to that office. "Thau (says David) hast jpenfeeted pulse," 
not they, nor *y. And sp in the (tape) 4JIQ, the wrtwn 
ford did indeed give talents, but it wa# thosf fvho veve 
"called." Do thou therefore wait alto till thou art 
called ; and in the mean time, neither teach after this of- 
fice of teaching nor plunge thyself into it, for thy know- 
ledge will not burst thee, though thou keep it in long. 
'They ran (saith the Lord by the prophet Jeremiah, 
chap. xxiiL 21,) but I never sent them : I have not 
spoken unto them, yet they prophesied.' This tpmptetipu 
miserably vexes many, so that they #re continually 
weary of, and sorry for that which they have undertaken- 
And the devil does these things that he may distress the 
minds of those who have begun well, and at length 
wears them out by making them weary of the wprk. 
Therefore, let him who is called, offer his mouth unto 
God, that he may receive the Word, and may he an 
instrument only and not the author. Apd let him who is 
not called, pray the Lord of the harvest thftt he would 
send forth labourers, and perfect bis strength out of the 
usutb of sucklings. 

a d s 


Next, we have the words " babes and sucklings. 
Here the minister of the Word is taught, that he should 
be a babe among babes, and, according to that of Paul, 
1 Cor. ix. 22, should become all things to all men that 
he might gain all ; and above all things take care that 
he never despise nor disdain any one. In the same 
manner as infants, from their simplicity, are utterly un- 
acquainted with any distinction or respect of persons, 
but are equal and the same to all. For what is more 
dangerous in a minister of the Word of God, than to be 
one thing to the great and the rich, and another to the 
weak and the poor? Whereas they are sent to this mi- 
nistry to serve all men, to flatter none, and to hate none. 
Tfou will scarcely find in the holy scriptures any one 
thing against which the Spirit so much contends, as 
against an unjust respect of persons ; for it is difficult to 
despise the external persons and appearances of men, and 
yet to love and seek the good of the men themselves as 
they are in the sight of the invisible God. 

And . they are moreover taught this. — That they 
should be gentle and not railers, nor (as it is written, 
Titus i. 7,) self-willed, nor soon angry, nor strikers : for 
such are not babes and sucklings. 

And moreover in this scripture is condemned all the 
proud ostentation of those who deal in great and won- 
derful things which are above them, teaching lofty and 
difficult things which do not at all tend to the main 
object, which the people do not at all understand, and 
from which, if they did understand them, they could 
reap no solid advantage. And, in a word, the passage 
condemns all doctrine conceived and delivered by men, 
with whatever adultery of human and carnal knowledge 
they may be infected, while it is contrary to the doctrine 
that is divinely inspired. 

In the next place we have, " thou hast perfected." 
For it is not enough to teach the Word of God, if it be 
not rightly taught. Thus Paul instructed Timothy that 
he should handle the Word " lawfully." For there are 
many wrongly- anxious and vain preachers, who rage 
and make a great to do, not knowing all the while that 


it is one thing to plant and another to give the incrt&se f 
and these want ail things to be done as soon as they 
have spoken the words: not so much desiring to be 
heard, because they speak forth the Word of God, as 
because they are the teachers of the Word ; thus striving 
that the instrument should be commended rather than 
the Word sounded fogh. And this is the case with those 
who promise to themselves that they shall touch, work 
upon, and immediately convert, now these persons and 
now those, by words mat they have previously conceived 
and meditated. Whereas, by the wonderful management 
of God, it cotnes to pass, that they axe the farthest pos- 
sible from accomplishing that which they have framed 
out in their thoughts, for the soul naturally feels that 
all such are the words of the man himself, composed by 
himself, and covered with human dung, fas Ezekiel 
saith, chap, iv.:) that is, polluted with numan af- 
fections i and therefore, the soul nauseates such a word, 
and is rather stirred 'up to wrath against it than con- 
verted by it The soul is then rather moved when it 
hears nothing of the attempt of the speaker but the free 
Word of God only. For the Word being free and pure 
will have itself spoken forth in public, and will touch 
those of whom the preacher himself knows nothing. Of 
this we have many examples upon record. 

Therefore, let it be ours only to offer up our mouth 
unto the Word, and let it be God's to accomplish the 
work and to give the increase. Hence Christ, Matt. xxi. 
told his disciples, when he sent them, that they should 
find an ass and a foal ; which they saw not, and of 
vhich they knew nothing; and yet, they went and, : 
fetched the ass and the foal, though they were in this ig- 
norance about them. Wherefore, laying aside this fool- 
ish confidence, as if we could do any thing towards 
co-operating with the Word in the hearer, let us rather 
give ourselves to continual prayer, that God would him- 
self, without us, accomplish in the hearer what he speaks 
by the preacher ; for it is he that speaks and he that 
hears and works all in all : we are only his instruments, 
«nd neither able to give nor to receive any thing, unless 



he himself give afid teceivte. Hence Psataa fxviii. 1 8, 
*tfth a word watchful over the honour of God, saith, 
"Thou hast ascended up on high, thou hast received 
gtfte for men/' But the Apostle, Ephes. iv. 8, saith, 
M &avfc gift* unto mem* 1 

NoWj if the ministers of the Word were such tts these, 
It would without doubt be effectual and powerful tod 
Would not be spoken forth in vain : as it is said, Isa. Iv. 
1 1 , i The worf tftet goeth forth oat of my mouth shall 
tiot return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that 
which I please.' Observe the words — - That which 
I ple&se,' not that which the minister pleases* And, 
c it shall prosper in the thing wherettnto 1 send it/ 
£0fi in them to whom the minister in his rash fancies 
Shall send it Hence there is a most perilous thing both 
Ways,— either to teach the word of man under the name 
of the Word of God, or to hurl the pure Word of God, 
just according lo our own whims and feelings : each of 
which mbnsWeus perversions has held the church at this 
day under the most oppressive tyranny. 

For this reason, therefore, let every one that is set 
over the people of Christ in the ministry of the Word, 
be humble and fe$r, and let him study, by purity of 
prayer, more than by industrious strength, to deliver the 
Word free, pure, and simply as it is, committing unto 
God both his own tongue and the aonlfe of the hearers. 
For it is a decreed truth, that there is no master in the 
church of God but he who says, Matt, xxiii. 10, " One 
is your master, even Christ." And Psalm lx. 6, " God 
hath spoken in his holiness," or saint, (that is, in his 
sanctuary, which is the church.) But where men or 
Satan speak, there, without doubt, is a brothel and sy- 
nagogue of Satan : for such as the Word is, such are 
the people, such is their God, such their worship, such 
their faith, such their conscience, such their works, and 
such all that belongs to thorn. And therefore, all things * 
are wrought in men by the Word only. 

Hence I fear that all that infinite number of books, 
both of rites and of theology, which prevail at this day 
in the church over and* above the Gospel, are those 


phials of Jhe Wrath of God mentioned Rev. xvi. which, 
being poured upon the earth, the sea, the rivers, the sun, 
the air, &c. are described as bringing many dreadful 
plagues on men. For what wrath.or what plague from 
God can be more dreadful, than that Christ should not 
be taught among Christians, nor his faith known, but 
that the souls of men should be employed in and 
oppressed with Decrees, Decretals, Sextaries, Clemen* 
tines, Extravagaries, Morals, Summaries, and the like. 

Add -now, as we have said that no one ought to 
teach in the church but he who is called of God, lest 
any one should be at a loss to know what this Call of 
God is, let him observe this, — whether or not the 
person be called to the ministry of the Word by the 
authority of his elders, either ecclesiastical or secular, 
without, nay contrary to, his own will and inclination. 
For there js no power but what is ordfrined of God, 
Rom* X. Therefore whatever both powers command, is 
without doubt the command of God. And moreover we 
do not read in the Old Testament of any undertaking 
that prospered, unless God were first consulted, and an 
answer obtained either by means of some angel or 
some man. For how unsuccessfully did the children of 
Israel fight when they fought without the command of 
God ! as we read in Numbers xiv. ; and we see the 
same in the Maccabees. — If God want thee, he will 
undoubtedly seek thee out, and will rather send an angel 
down from heaven to fetch thee to him. 

This I believe is the reason why die Popes, Priests, 
and religious ones do not teach the Word of God 
in the church : — because there is no longer any one. of 
them who waits for the call of God, but they all seek* 
after dignities, prebendaries, and the ease and gratifi- 
cation of their bellies. So that despair and a certain 
slotbfulness of spirit do not now make men Monks 
only, but the same things move our popes and priests 
also to their offices. 

Thou wilt not better understand this call of God; 
therefore, than by observing the scripture histories anil 
the histories of all the saints of the church. For all those 


who were called of God always wrought some great 
works; as Augustine and Ambrose; and, before them, 
Paul the apostle, &c. And (that I may not raise any 
scruple or doubt in any one's mind) I am speaking of 
those who have come and still come forward to teach 
the Word of God. It behoves these, I say, to take the 
greatest heed that they come forth by the mission of 
God : as Paul saith Rom. x. 15, " How shall they 
preach except they be* sent?" as it is written, How 
beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel 
of peace." And again, Malachi ii. 7, " For the priests' 
lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the 
law at his mouth : for he is the messenger of the Lord 
of hosts." — But as to all the rest who come to episco- 
pal sees, to canonries, and all such priestly offices, in 
which there is not the ministry of the Word, I do not 
see that they have need of any calling at all. For in all 
these offices, there is nothing more sought at this day 
than a private serving of God : in which, as Paul saith, 
1 Cor. vii. "Every man hath his proper gift of God, 
one after this manner and another after that." 

And yet, those are not to be rejected and cast out, 
who, moved by godly desire, ana despising riches, 
fame, and their own life, have a desire to teach the 
Word (though their cases are very rhre,) nay, they are 
rather to be commended : as the Apostle saith, 1 Tim. 
iii. 1, " For this is a true saying, that if a man desire the 
office of a bishop he desire th a good work." But why 
the Apostle says it is a " true saying," and why he calls 
it "a good work," is shown in what immediately follows: 
" For, (says he) a bishop must be blameless, the husband 
of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to 
hospitality, apt to teach," &c. As therefore, ((he apostle 
would say,) these are the works of a bishop, he that de- 
sireth the office of a bishop, desireth a good work. 
For that office requires one that is a despiser of glory, of 
fame, of his own life, and of all things, because it is a 
ministry of truth. And these things Christ foretold 
where he said, Matt. x. 22, "And ye shall be hated of all 
men for my name sake." And as those can scarcely en- 


dare thk who were drawn to the work against their will 
by the power of God, that man most in vain hope to 
endure it who has sought after the office of his own ac- 
cord, or who has not been moved to it by some singular 
impulse of grace within. 

It now follows in the verse, " because of thine ene- 
mies:" that is, thine adversaries, or, (as we have 
already often translated that noun,) thine oppressors. As 
this, therefore, may be rightly said of the incarnate God, 
(for God himself cannot be oppressed nor suffer from 
adversaries,) that we may go on with the same accep- 
tation of the Psalm as that with which we began, let us 
understand all these things as spoken of the Son, as 
those of the verse preceding were of the Father. — We 
are comforted by this Word ; because we hear the Holy 
Ghost declare, that these adversaries are not ours but 
the adversaries of God, for they are the adversaries of 
him whose Word and work they persecute. And as it is 
not we that speak and work, but God in us ; so, it is 
not we that suffer and are despised, but God in us. 
Thus the Apostle dares to say, Ephes. iv. 90, " And 
grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby yeare sealed 
unto the day of redemption." And Zech. ii. 8, " For he 
that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye:" 
though our ecclesiastical ones have twisted this round 
as applying to priests only, as if the laity were not par- 
takers of the Holy Spirit also. And so again, 1 Sam. ii. 
30, "And they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.'' 
Why then are we filled with fear and disquieted if un- 
godly men fight against our word or work ? Let us leave 
them to rage on : or rather, let us pray for them that 
their eyes may be opened, and that they might see that 
it is not against us they run but against God himself. 

What is it then ' for strength to be perfected out of 
the mouth of babes and sucklings, because of the ene- 
mies?' Why, David here still goes on to comfort us un- 
der all our weakness, and so hold forth to our view the 
wonderful power of God. As if he had said, There shall 
rise up against these helpless infants, a powerful Pha- 
raoh, and the sons of men shall open their mouths 


iigaintt them ; magicians shall not be wariting, Hot a 
Jannes tind a iambres who shall do signs and wonders ; 
and, in a wbftl, their adversaries shall be most powerful 
both in might and crafty and shall resist the Word of 
truth. Because of these, I say, ^saith David,) that they 
might hot prevail, but, as Paul saith, 3 Tim. iii. 9, that 
their folly might be made manifest to all men, he shall 
give them a month and wisdom which all their adversa- 
ries shall not he able to resist or gainsay. For (as - the 
Hebrew terms them) there am always " giants" and 
*' murderers" upon the earth and "men of renown/ 9 
who, trusting to their strength and violence, rush upon 
and oppress the weak and simple infants who are 
preachers of the Word of truth. But all this is per- 
mitted, that the power of the Word which proceeds 
from their mouth might be made manifest and perfected, 
while God confounds the mighty by the weak and the 
•wise by the foolish, and brings to nought things that are 
by the things that are not. — -Hence it now follows, 

" That thou mightest still the enemy and avenger." 
Hieronymus translates it thus, — 'that the enemy and 
avenger might rest : ' that is, that he might cease, desist, 
and rest from his evil works. The Hebrew is thus, — 
that a sabbath, that is, that rest, might come : that it 
might show, that the enemies and avengers must either 
cease, or be destroyed : according to that of Ps. civ. 35, 
" But let sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let 
the wicked be no more." Or else it shows, that they are 
to be changed into friends, and those that shall suffer 
also : according to that of the prophet Isaiah, chap. ii. 4. 
"And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, 
and their spears into priming-hooks : " which is an alle- 
gorical figure to signify the changing of evil and de- 
structive into wholesome tongues. 

And the words "enemy and avenger/' signify figura- 
tively, all enemies and avengers. And all those are 
> enemies who think and act contrary to us. They are 
moreover called " avengers," because they madly con- 
tend against the babes and sucklings of God in defence 
of their own principles and pursuits, as they say, 


Psalm ih S, " Let us break their bands asunder and cast 
away their cords from us." But there follows, in the 
some place, die manner in which such shall be de- 
stroyed, ver. 5, "Then shall he speak unto them in hi} 
wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure." Though, 
as to myself, I believe that it is a saving destruction that 
is signified in this Psahn, by which* as I said, the ungodly 
man is destroyed, in order to his becoming godly : for 
this is the peculiar work of Christ in thechurch,.and this 
» the work of the Holy Spirit, and is wrought by the 
peaeeftrf Word of of the Gospel rather than by the im- 
petuous violence of wrath and fury. And the proof of 
this seems to be, David's saying, that aD these are to 
be wrought by no other means than oat of the month 
of babes and sucklings, and that it is out of their 
month only that this strength is to be perfected. 

And now, he goes on to show what are the disposi- 
tion and manners of these adversaries of die Word. In 
the first place, he shows that they are flesh and blood : 
as he SAith, Psalm cxvi. 11," All man are liars : " they 
Are abovfe all things unable to endure that truth which 
Aortifies the flesh. For the wisdom and prudence of the 
flesh, is w enmity against God, because it is not subject 
to the law of God neither indeed can be,' 9 as Paul saith, 
Rom. viii. 7. And moreover, when this truth is spoken 
by babes, those wise ones of the world, considering that 
understanding insulted in which they boast themselves, 
not onlv become enemies, but under a false external 
pretext, and under the name of truth, arm themselves 
with zeal to revenge the insult offered to their under- 
standings, and never rest until they have suppressed and 
slain these apostles of the truth under pretence of de- 
fending the glory of God and the truth, or, (as the 
common term is now a-days) for the honour of the holy 
church. So general, usual, nay necessary a consequent 
is it, that he who is an enemy to the truth of God must 
also become an avenging defender of his own lies. And 
though we find this evil to be general in all causes both 
profane and sacred, yet, in the latter, where a holy pre- 


fiance can be more conveniently made, it triumphs with 
ease and security. 

Let every one, therefore, who is called or who at- 
tempts to teach the Word, be instructed and assured, 
that he will have adversaries who will not only not hear 
what he has to say, but will, when he offends against 
their opinions and pursuits, (which he must of necessity 
do,) become his most bitter enemies and persecutors* 
These words of the Spirit, however, which bring the 
babes into a contention with enemies and avengers will 
not lie : the contest may be fearful, but it is so managed 
by divine power, and will end so well, that if the babe 
does but believe that the matter is conducted by the 
counsels of God and not by his own, and if he does but 
concern himself about offering his mouth to him that 
speaketh in him, and does but leave himself in his hands 
as the mere instrument of the Word, that Word perfect- 
ing will perfect strength, and destroying will destroy the 

Moreover, he that so teaches as not to 6nd an enemy 
to resist, and an avenger to persecute, because he 
teaches out of the rule laid down in this verse, let him 
not presume to himself that he is a perfect and pure 
preacher of the Word. But if enemies and avengers rise 
up and rush upon him, saying, " Let us break their 
bands asunder and cast away their cords from us," or if 
they shall taunt him as they did the prophets, saying, 
" What is the burden of the Lord?" or shall serve them 
as Zedekiah did Micaiah, 1 Kings xxii. 24, and say, 
u Which way went the Word of the Lord from me to 
speak unto thee r " Art thou the only wise one in the- 
world ? Let such an one be of good hope, knowing ac- 
cording to this verse, that he is a babe and a suckling, 
but that his enemies are Nimrods and giants : for this is 
what we see came upon all the prophets, upon Christ 
himself, upon the apostles, and upon all the ministers of 
the Word. The example of whom, like a most thick 
cloud, ought to animate us, for we see all such examples 
to accord most exactly with this scripture. 


From which it follows, that all those laws and rites 
of men, and also all those dumb and sleepy systems of 
theology drawn up by mere oppositionists, was never the 
strength that was perfected out of the mouth of babes 
and sucklings, and that they have nothing whatever in 
them that agrees with the description given in this verse, 
because no one of all such compilers was ever known to 
suffer any evil or persecution on account of their profes- 
sion or writings : unless perhaps it be a little abuse in a 
bickering or quarrelling, like that of women : for they arc 
never compelled by mere opinions, to suffer the peril of 
fire and death, until they have been brought forth, and 
instructed in the scriptures, and have begun to preach 
the Word of God. Nay rather, such are adorned with 
titles and honours, and high places and names ; they are 
saluted in the market place, and are called Rabbi, as is 
the case with all our great doctors and teachers. 

Such a doctrine as this of human framing, therefore, 
has no enemies and persecutors, excepting it be in the 
same way as Pilate and Herod contended together, and 
the Pharisees and Sadducees. For it would not take 
much to stir up all the disciples of Thomas, of Scotus, 
of Modernus, together with all the priests, bishops, and 
religiosoes at this day, and to bring them all to stand to- 
gether against Christ, though they are always in a con- 
tinual state of contention among each other : thus the 
prophet justly wonders. Psalm ii. that all the kings of 
the earth, though the greatest enemies to each other, yet 
stood up against him. And so, all the princes and elders 
among priests, though completely divided among each 
other in mutual factions, yet all assemble together against 
the Lord and against his Christ. 

These things I wished to say unto those who desire 
to speak the Word of God and minister it purely, that 
they may know that, according to this verse, they will 
ever have the more and greater enemies and avengers, 
the more corrupt these latter times are, and the more 
specious outside show there is of titles, names, dignities, 
offices, and rites, under the name of Christ. Let such, 
therefore, bear in mind, that this truth is fixedly certain. 


• Out of the mouths of both babes and sucklings (saith 
God) I only perfect strength ; which shall have enemies, 
but which shall destroy the enemy and avenger.' 

Ver. 3. — For I shall see thy heavens the work of thy 
fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast made. 

How anxious is the good Spirit of God to animate 
us, to render us proud, courageous, and, (to allude to the 
word spirit) spiritual ; that is, swollen, replete, and full, 
against the enemies and avengers ; but, only in the fear 
and confidence towards God ! He had said just before 
that these ministers of the Word were " babes and suck- 
lings," whose form is of the lowest and most impotent 
kind, who have need in all things to be holpen, and who 
are from their nature exposed to every kind of danger 
and suffering. But now, he calls these same ministers 
the heavens of God, that is, of a form and nature the 
most high and powerful of all things ; which, by their 
light, their motion, their brightness, their thunders, and 
their rains, and other operations, can do all things, and 
accomplish all things, in all things beneath themselves. — 
For it is not an acceptation that will be consistent here, 
to understand, in this passage, the visible and material 
heavens ! For what great thing would it be for the pro- 
phet to boast of, that he should see the heavens, which 
even the beasts of the field also, and the fowls of the air, 
or, (which is the farthest from his meaning) even the 
most wicked men can see ? And perhaps it was not with- 
out a particular intent that he added the pronoun " thy 
heavens ;" that he might show, that he did not speak of 
any heavens, but of those which are not heavens to men, 
but to God only, as being those in which he alone dwells, 
which he alone knows, and which serve him only. For 
those visible heavens are our heavens also, as being those 
which serve us in corporal things, and are known to 
us. — But if this exposition of the. meaning, and these 
arguments do not suffice, and have not sufficient weight 
with the reader, let the words of Paul, Heb. ii. 5, settle 
his mind, who, entering upon an explanation of the 
meaning of this Psalm, saith, " For unto the angels hat^ 

lie not pat in subjection the world to come whereof w* 

But if any one wishes to contend that this verse is to 
he understood of the new heavens and the new earth 
which shall be created in the last day, I will not stand 
out against it For thus Peter fbreteb, 2 Epist. ii. that 
in the end of the world, the enemies and avengers shall 
be destroyed, that the heavens and the earth shall pass 
away, and that the face of all things shall be changed, 
and that the elect shall see it and shall rejoice. As God 
saith also by the prophet Isaiah, liv. 17, " For behold, I 
create new heavens and a new earth : and the former 
shall not be remembered nor come into mind. But be 
ye died and rejoice for ever in that which I create." 
And that this is the sense is apparent from the verb 
being in the future tense, " For I shall see." For fthy 
photud lie say " I shall see," if he did not mean other 
and future heavens ? But the Apoede also, Hebrews ii., 
where he! introduces the passage from Psalm ciL, conr 
cernmg the change that shall be made in the heavens, 
< that they shall wax old as a garment,' stems to under- 
stand this Psalm concerning the future heavens. 

He that understands the verse in this sense, will say 
that it describes the state of the whole church down to 
the end of the world : which state is nothing but a per- 
fecting of strength out of the mouth of babes and suck- 
lings, and a destroying of the enemy and avenger, and 
therefore it describes sin, which is death : as in 1 Cor. xv. 
26. " The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death," 
that, when they are destroyed, the new heavens may ap- 
pear and be seen. 

Though this acceptation be beautiful and true, yet 
we will not lose sight of the former, considering, that 
there are here described the two principal yet contrary 
things in the ministers of the word. 

The one of these is that which appears unto men. 
This is signified by the names " babes" and " suck- 
lings," that is, the weakness, the foolishness, and the 
vanity, which the Apostle more fully describes 1 Cor. iv. 
9^-13,«yiii& " For I think that God hall* set forth us the 


apostles last as it were appointed to death. For we are 
made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to 
men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in 
Christ : we are weak, but ye are strong ; ye are honour- 
able, but we are despised. Even unto this, present hour 
we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buf- 
feted, and have no certain dwelling-place ; and labour 
working with our own hands ; being reviled, we bless ; 
being persecuted, we suffer it ; being defamed, we entreat; 
we are made as the filth of the earth, and are the off- 
scouring of all things unto this day/' Behold the weak 
form of the apostles : for such is, or ought to be an apostle 
in the eyes of men, and a successor of the apostles also. 

But again, 2 Cor. xii. 12, we have the other form 
or appearance of the Word of God in the ministers, as it 
is in the sight of God. With what abundant expression 
does the apostle there set it forth, saying, among other 
things, " Though I am nothing ; yet truly the signs of 
an apostle were wrought among you in signs and won 
ders and mighty deeds." And again, 1 Cor v i. 23, " But 
we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling- 
block, and to the Greeks foolishness; but unto them 
which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the 
power of God and the wisdom of God." And again, 
2 Cor. xiii. 3, " Since ye seek a proof of Christ speak- 
ing in me, which to youward is not weak, but is mighty 
in you." By- all these things the apostle shows, how 
great the appearance of the ministry of the word is in 
the sight of God ; seeing that, like the heavens, it rains 
down saving doctrine, thunders with threats, is. re- 
splendent vvith signs and wonders, and illuminated with 

The sense of this verse is, therefore, ' Out of the 
mouth of babes and sucklings thou wilt perfect strength, 
that thou mightest destroy the enemies and avengers: 
which shall be wonderful in the eyes of all men, that the 
pride and power of the world should yield to such weak- 
ness. And yet this shall come to pass, for we shall see 
thy heavens : and those who preach in the infirmity of 
the flesh, shall, in the strength and power of the Spirit, 


perform wonders and shall prevail : and those who are 
despised in the eyes of men, shall, in thy sight, and in 
the sight of those who have thy eyes, be above all human 
power and glory. 

And now observe the order of the whole. — The 
former is the form and appearance of babes ; the latter, 
of the heavens. Whereby it is shown, that an aposde, or 
a minister of the Word, avails nothing by all his glorious 
form, unless he has first been under the ignominious 
form. And as, in the present day, men with all their 
might and power detest the former form and appearance, 
excelling only in riches, luxury, pride, and pomp, what 
wonder is it if they avail nothing in the latter form, are 
powerful neither in Word nor in work ? Hence, that Em- 
peror spoke rightly, who, when the Pope showed him 
his treasures, and said, 'Can we, my good Emperor, 
say, " Silver and gold have 1 none r " 9 most appro* 
pnately and shrewdly answered, ' No ! good father, neither 
can yon say that which follows, "Arise and walk." '—For 
as. to the dispensing priesthoods only, and settling the 
strifes and contentions of the world, which are at this 
day the sum total of the apostolic duties, what Turk or 
Scythian could nbt perform such offices? Most unhappy, 
indeed, were the coming of God in the flesh, if he came 
only that he might give this power to Pope9, which he 
rejected and spurned away from himself with so much 
constant concern. But however, let these things go 
on, our times deserve to be thus administered and go- 

But it may perhaps excite some thoughts in the 
mind of the simple reader, that the prophet should say, 
that he should see the heavens when he had not yet seen 
the times of the New Testament. But David speaks in 
the person of the people of God, who were then de- 
signed to see those heavens who afterwards did see 
them, and who now do see them, and will see them unto 
the end of. the world. For he is not so anxious about 
expressing how be should see them, as about the heavens 
themselves being made manifest which he said he should 
aqs. As if be had said, Thy heavens shall be revealed and 
vol. in. 3 i. 


shall be sent throughout all the world, and shall be ma- 
nifest to the eyes of all ; and I shall see them if I live ; 
•I now hear of them and sing of them in faith only. 

And in this same figurative way, and in the same 
person, Jacob also speaks, Gen. xlix. 18, "I will wait 
for thy salvation, O Lord," that is, I know that he will 
surely come. And again, Psalm xcviii. 3, " All the ends 
of the earth have seen the salvation of our God : " 
which is the same as saying (as Isaiah speaks,) " The 
glory of the Lord shall be revealed." And Simeon saith, 
Luke ii. 32, " A light to lighten the Gentiles ; " that is, 
that it might be revealed to the Gentiles. Wherefore, in 
this verse of his, David does nothing more than set 
forth clearly to the eyes of all, the present and ma- 
nifest knowledge of the Apostles and their successors. 
And this is what the prophet exults in, — in setting 
forth those sacred things of grace and of the Word, 
which were to be revealed by the Apostles and his suc- 

" The works of thy hands," saith David. — This is a 
metaphor taken from artificers who execute works with 
their hands, and especially the more exquisite and deli- 
cate pieces of workmanship. For those things which are 
made with the hands and the feet are for the most part 
coarse and common, and do not exhibit much of art, 
and are more like the works of beasts. By these words, 
therefore, it is taught, that the preachers of the New 
Testament are much more pure and clear than the 
preachers and priests, of the Old Testament, because 
they clearly separate the Spirit from the letter, and de- 
liver the W ord most purely and tenderly ; which word 
those under the law delivered in a more coarse way as 
involved in the obscure shadows of the law. " For the 
law made nothing perfect," as the apostle saith. 

But it is sufficiently manifest from the Gospel, that 
the Holy Spirit is called the finger of God ; and whether 
it k the Spirit himself that is here called "fingers," oil 
account of his adversity of operations (of which Paul 
speaks, 1 Cor. xii.) or whether it is the gifts themselves 
that are so called, it matters not : for the heavens are 


formed by the Holy Ghost, and are formed also by the 
gifts of the Holy Ghost 

And David here keeps to that which we said, Ps. i. 
was signified by the word asa; that is, an enduring- 
work, or workmanship, as a house or garment. Which 
is hero clearly understood to be the meaning, when 
David calls the apostles and preachers of the Word who 
are made by the fingers of God, his "works/' which is 
in the Hebrew mjbsz. Wherein also we discover an- 
other dignity of the apostolic calling : who, although 
they are the off-scouring of all things before men, are yet 
the most beautiful, choice, excellent workmanship of 
God. They are deformed by men, bat they are formed 
by God. To men they are suffering creatines, yea, suf- 
fering itself; but with God they are almighty work- In 
which also there is afforded a most strong consolation 
for the ministers of the Word, that they may be coura- 
geous in mind, knowiug that they are the work of the 
fingers of God, exquisitely wrought to perform all his 
pleasure* And those have need of strong consolation 
who are sent against the whole world to fight against 
them singly and alone. Hence Christ commanded his 
apostles, Luke xxiv. 40, that they should remain in the 
city until they were endued with power from on high, 
end that they should there wait for the promise of the 
Father. As if he had said, Ye shall not go forth until ye 
shall be made the works of my hands. 

And there is shown at the same time, in these 
words, the prosperity of the Word, if the ministers be 
bat the works of God's hands and fingers. Thus Exod. 
vifl. 19, the magicians failed in the third sign, and said, 
"This is the finger of God." And to also Acts vi. 10, 
" And they could not resist the wisdom and the spirit 
with which he spake." Hence the devil, the world, and 
the flesh, resist all others, but the finger of God, which 
is spirit and power, no one can resist. The north wind 
Mows apon the garden of the spouse, and, the spices 
flow dut, Songiv. 16. And again, Psalm cxlvii. 18, 
" He causeth his wind to blow and the waters {low : " 
that is, the people are converted and their hearts 



mode soft. And all this is done by the finger of God, 
for Christ does not otherwise cast out devils. 

Wherefore, as the form of the apostleship is weak, 
unattracting, and foolish, where it is set forth by in- 
fants and sucklings ; so f it is powerful, glorious, and wise 
where it is set forth by the heavens and the works of the 
hands of God : in which state, it does things that are in- 
credible. All these things of God therefore are wrought 
under appearances which are contrary to the effects 
produced. Thus Moses and Aaron, in the former two 
descriptions, were accounted babes, and sucklings, and 
impotent ; but, according to the latter description, they 
prevailed as the heavens and the fingers of God. 

We now have, "The moon and the stars which thou 
hast founded.' 9 — A query has been made why there is 
no mention made of the sun here, which is the glory of 
the heavens ? Perhaps it is because the whole Psalm 
sings of Christ himself, who is the sun of these heavens : 
as. in Psalm xix. 4, " In them hath he set a tabernacle 
for the sun." Because the Psalmist had said before con- 
cerning him, "Thy glory is lifted up above the heavens." 
And by-and-by he will sing of the same Christ in his 
own true praises : saying, " What is man that thou art 
mindful of him," &c. For a more full and copious 
encomium was due to him than to the moon and the 
stars; and therefore he was to be sung of separately. 
Though Christ is here also set forth with sufficient 
deafness, where the Psalmist speaks of the moon and 
the stars as being " founded." For most certainly there 
is none other foundation for the church and for the 
righteous than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ, 
the sun of righteousness : as Isaiah saith, chap, xxviii. 
16, and whim Peter adduces, 1 Epist ii. 6, " Behold, 
I lay in Zioft a chief corner-stone, elect, and pre- 
cious : and he that believeth on him shall not be con- 

He might have said, therefore, the moon and the 
stars. which thou hast illuminated, or which thou hast 
made to shine by the sun : for they say that the moon 
and the stars are illuminated by the sun, the fountain: of 


all light But he chose rather to say* " which thou hast 
founded : " and he did not say so without cause : for he 
would thereby show, that Christ is both the sun and the 
foundation of the heavens, and the rock upon which' the 
church is built and founded, which shall prevail against 
the gates of hell, Matt xviiL And it was more agreeable 
to the whole scope of the Psalm, that he should speak 
thus, than that he should speak of the illumination of the 
moon and stars. For Christ lighteneth every man that 
cometh into the world, and the Gospel is preached to 
every creature, even as the visible sun illuminates all 
things. But, as those whb are blind see not the light 
that lighteneth all things ; so neither do all men obey 
the Gospel ; ' for none obey it but those who are 
founded by faith upon Christ, the illuminating sun. 

And this again is said for our consolation and ex- 
hortation. For how much soever men may rage against 
die church and the saints of Christ, they shall not pre- 
vail : for Christ the foundation standeth sure, and the 
church stands, for God hath founded it upon Christ, 
and therefore it shall not be moved ; because, whosoever 
betieveth in him shall not be confounded. Since, there* 
fore, David wished to speak of the faith of the church 
and of the righteous, by which alone they are built upon 
the foundation, the word " founded " prevented the pos- 
sibility of his adding the ' sun/ because the sun is not 
founded, but is itself the foundation-. 

And this query is of no moment at all. — Why did 
he say owe fundasti, and not qua* fundatti, when luna 
and stake are both of the feminine gender ? (For the 
Hebrew has no neuter gender at all.) — It is sufficient to 
know that moon and stars here, by an allegorical signifi- 
cation, signify the church and the faithful in Christ,; 
who are built by faith upon him, biit are visible and 
manifest to the whole world. Thus Daniel saith, ch. *ii. 
3, " And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness 
of the firmament : and they that turn many to righteous- 
ness as the stars for ever and ever." Daniel does not 
here speak of the doctrine and righteousness of men, (as 
this passage is most frequently and corruptedly inter- 


prtted,) but of the doctrine and righteousness of men, 
which is in spirit And this is shown by the whole alle- 
gory ; wherein David calls them the heavens, the moon, 
*ad the stars ; whereas they appear to be any thing but 
this in the sight of men : yet nevertheless, they are made 
manifest to the world by signs and by wonders, but they 
are not believed by all. - 

And now observe the order of the words— David 
'calls the heavens .the works of the hands of God : And 
says that the moon and the stars were founded by God. 
But did he not found the heavens also ? And, are not 
the moon and the stars the works of his hands ? Why 
then does he speak of them in this order ? For God 
alone certainly made both, and works both in both. His 
fingers make both the heavens and the moon and the 
stars, and he founds the moon and the stars as well as 
the heavens. But David used this order of these things 
-that no one, like the Corinthians, might say i I am of 
Paul, and I am of Cephas, and I am of ApoHos.' For 
the apostles did not found the church and believers, but 
God who giveth the increase : but the apostles are the 
" ministers (as the apostle saith) by whom ye believed. 
And they did not found themselves as the hrst apostles 
by any others, or by themselves, but were the first works 
of the hands of God : according to that of Ps. xxxiii. 6, 
By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and 
the host of them by the breath of has mouth." 

In this matter, therefore, we need not again ad- 
monish the great Ones of the churches, that it is of little 
service for them to talk about being founded upon 
Christ with others, if they be not the works of the hands 
of God, that is, called and made of God? But now, 
what are all such but the works of men's hands, the 
images and idols of the Gentiles, wood and stone? 
They have ears, but they hear not the Word of God ; 
eyes have they, but they see not themselves ; they have 
hands, but they touch nothing for the benefit of others ; 
nor as there any voice in their throat, for they teach no- 
thing. And therefore, this verse is fulfilled in their being 
catted; and rightly called, the creatures of men. For if 


they were the works of the hands of God, they would 
not be the creatures of men. 

In a word, in the prefaces to their letters, these 
characters do not separate the grace of God from the 
grace of men : they say, ' The grace of God and of the 
apostolic seat' As if the grace of God were not enough: 
or, as if it were no profanity at all to class together in 
their titles, the grace of God and the grace of man, as 
being upon an equality with each other. — But this abo- 
mination standing in the holy place pleases even those 
who ought with all their powers to drive it from them. 
But let this iniquity fill up its measure. There shall be 
times given, answering to these manners : for 'the grace 
of the apostolic seat,' and the indignation of the tribu- 
nal of Christ shall reign together. Let therefore, the 
apostolic seat consider it to be grace granted to it, when 
it can find persons to support it and co-operate with it, 
and when it can compel men into its service against 
their will, thus imposing a burden upon them instead of 
giving them grace. 

Ver. 4. — What is man that thou art mindful of hint? 
or the son of man, seeing thou visitest him? 

In the first place, as this passage has exercised the 
judgments of various authors, it is right for us to know, 
that in the Hebrew the conjunction in this passage is 
not a conjunction disjunctive. In which little particular, 
though apparently trifling, Augustine, Cassiodorus, and 
others, have placed all their understanding of the pas- 
sage ; when they say, that " or the son of man " refers 
to Christ, on account of the conjunction disjunctive; 
and that, " What is man," refers to all men. But the 
Hebrew has it in a continued sense, "and the son of 
man ; " the yords are uben adam : and this accepta- 
tion of the passage I follow upon the authority of the 
apostle, Heb. ii. o, who understands .both concerning 
Christ, where he says, " But one in a certain place tes- 
tified, saying, What is man that thou art mindful of 
him ? Or the son of man that thou visitest him ? " — But 
however, even if the conjunction disjunctive should be 


preserved, it would not make it necessary that we should 
understand " man " and " the son of man " as two dif- 
ferent persons : • for such a mode of expression is 
allowable in those who use an interrogation under such 
a powerful feeling of wonder and admiration, as is 
expressed in this passage. In such a case the author 
may use, by way of repetition, either a conjunction co- 
pulative or disjunctive, accordingly as it best suits his 
powerful feelings. Hence we have it said, Micah vi. 3, 
" O my people, what have I done unto thee, or wherein 
have 1 wearied thee ? " &c. 

And then, we are farther to observe, that the 
Hebrew language has two words which it uses to express 
or call man, as far as the nature of man is concerned. 
These words are a dam and enos. And there is a third, 
isch, which is often rendered man ; though, properly, 
it should only be rendered man (viz.) in an official 
sense: for the wife from that name is called ischa, or 
woman : as if it were intended to express a man-like 
woman (virago vel viracea,) because, as it is said, 
Gen. ii. she was taken out of man, isch. Hence isch, 
in the scriptures, generally signifies a husband or magis- 
trate: and roan is always expressed by that word 
more with reference to his particular office, than to 
his nature : of which we have said more, Psalm i. 

And enos and adam differ from each other in sig- 
nification thus, according to Eusebius in his Evangelical 
Preparations, 2. 4, and to Hieronymus in his Hebrew 
Questions, 97, — enos, properly, signifies man with re- 
spect to his soul, and adam, man, with respect to his 
body. And this rightly so. For Adam in the Hebrew 
signifies the earth, of which, with respect to his body, 
man was formed. So that man is called Adam from his 
origin, and from the word which expressed the material 
from which he was made, which signifies earthly, or, of 
the earth. And it is to this that the Apostle most plainly 
refers, when he says, 1 Cor. xv. 47, " The first man is 
of the earth, earthy : the second man is the Lord from 
heaven. As is the earthy such are they also that are 
earthy," &c. And the translator also of Psalm xlix. 


anxiously endeavouring to preserve this distinction of 
the Hebrew in another language, rendered the passage, 
"Those who are born of the earth and the sons of men;" 
(where the original is both the sons of adam and the 
sons of isch,) calling the sons of adam the sons of the 
earth, or earth-born ; thus expressing himself obscurely 
for the sake of keeping, (though in an ill-timed way,) 
close to the meaning of tiie original word : yet, he has 
thereby plainly shown, that adam means earth, and 
that when it signifies man it is the same as if one 
should in Latin call man humigena or humanus from 

But enos, according to his etymology, upon the au- 
thority of Eusebius, signifies ' forgetting or ' forgetful : ' 
and he thus distinguishes the different clauses of this 
verse according to the Hebrew, " What is enos that 
thou art mindful of him ? or the son of adam that thou 
visitest him ? " John Reuchlin says, that enos is a name 
given to man from its signifying affliction, pain, and 
sorrow : which agrees with that of Eusebius : and both 
meanings may well be received, as signifying, that man, 
according to his soul, is forgetful of, or has forgotten 
God, through sin: yet, not with that forget fulness 
which is common. For what character is there so base 
and impious who does not prate a great deal about God 
and think a great deal about him ? Nay, none make a 
more frequent mention of God, than the ungodly, the 
cursing, the blaspheming, and the proud, (as Isaiah 
saith,) who, nevertheless, never remember it in judgment 
nor in truth : that is, they continually use the name of 
the Lord, but in vain. It would l>e better for these if 
they were to forget the name of God altogether: even 
as it is good for him to refrain from touching holy things 
who does not handle them purely. 

But the name Enos signifies one who forgete both 
God and himself in spirit and in reality : to whom God 
is now no God at all, nor a Father, nor sweet, but a 
judge and a terrible enemy : in which state Adam was 
^hen he fled from the face of God in paradise. And 
^ras not he then mindful of God in an awful way? Yea, 


he felt him present too keenly, and would that he were 
absent ; which all the devils and the damned also wish, 
who tremble before his face continually. — Whoever, 
therefore, is deserted of God, and has not been instruct- 
ed in his mercy, Be is an enos, a miserable, wretched, 
trembling, and despairing creature, and wholly incon- 
solable ; for who can comfort one whose conscience is a 
continual tormentor to him ? And no conscience can be 
happy and joyful but that which trusts in the all-sweet 
mercy of God; which, has boldness, with all con- 
fidence, to call him Father ; and which, from this con- 
fidence, fears neither judgment, nor death, nor any evil 
' whatever. And sc^ on the other hand, no. conscience is 
distressed but that which is destitute of this confidence, 
and which feels that of Deut. xxviii. 65 — 67, " But the 
Lord shall give thee a trembling heart, and failing of 
eyes, and sorrow of mind. In the morning thou shalt 
say, Would God it were even ! And at even thou shalt 
say, Would God it were morning !" — This forgetfuloess, 
therefore, it is that makes a man an enos : into which 
state, above all things, traditions, and the counsels and 
consolations of men thrust us: and it is faith alone 
that sets us free and makes us again mindful of God, 
setting before us and holding out to us, nothing but 
mercy and love in Christ. 

Behold, therefore, the powerful contrast there is 
here set forth ! " What is enos that thou art mindful of 
him ? " Here he beautifully sets against each other the 
memory or mindfulness of God and our forgetfulness* 
Though I know not whether the prophet really spoke of 
God's being " mindful " so as to accord with die op- 
posite name enos, and to show the meaning of it, nor 
whether Eusebius drew his etymology of the name 
Enos, as signifying forgetful, from the word " mindful." 
For the expression, 'And the son of man that thou 
visitest him/ is not intended to convey any antithesis, or 
contrariety, excepting it be in this, — that the God of 
heaven, and a son of earth, are two such very contrary 
things, that it is a most wonderful thing, that the one 
shpjud be visited by the other: as we have U 


Psalm cxiii. 56, " Who is like unto the Lord our God, 
who dwelleth on high : who humbleth himself to be- 
hold the things that are in the earth?" 

It is a miracle of all miracles, therefore, that a man 
who in his own views, and in the sight of all others, is 
deserted, in despair, and forgetful of God, and who be- 
lieves any thing rather than that God is mindful of him, 
should be in the memory and kind remembrance of God. 
Yet this the heart of man ought to receive and believe, 
and can do it. He ought to, and can, apprehend and 
believe, that God is kind, favourable, and sweet, whom 
he feels to be none other than full of wrath, terrible, and 
not to be endured. Who therefore will not wonder? 
Who will not say, " What is man that thou art mindful 
of him?" These works of God, however, are incom- 
prehensible, and not to be understood in any other way 
than by faith and by following the footsteps marked in 
Psalm lxxvii. Who would ever believe that man should 
be thus visited of God, when he is only despised by all, 
and when nothing appears in him, excepting it being 
born of a woman and being of the same substance with 
other men ? If he were the son of a king, indeed, of a 
prince, of a priest, of a rich man, or of an honourable 
man, it would be no wonder at all that he should be 
visited of God. But now, nothing more vile can be said 
of a man, than that he is ' the son of man/ (unless he will 
deny his origin from man altogether,) for this " son 
of man," is a denomination commonly given to any 
one, even the greatest fool and the most vile of all 

And there is a great power of expression in these 
words, " The son of man," as there was in the words of 
Pilate when he said of Christ, " Behold the man V For 
he wished to speak of him in the most degrading way, 
for no one man has any great concern for another, and 
yet, God cares for him so as to visit him, and to come 
unto him, while all others utterly despise and disregard 
him. And hence, the Lord, rebuking all those lofty eyes 
of men which are occupied in the respect of persons, 
says by Isaiah lviii. 8, " When thou seest the naked 


that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from 
thine own flesh/' Behold, the Lord here calls the 
naked, the hungry, the thirsty, and the needy, " thine 
own flesh." Thus no one of us thoroughly considers 
that form which is most common to all : and for this 
fault, those wise ones are most deservedly left to dream 
about the Universals of Porphyry and Aristotle, and to 
seek after general and common natures with a most vain 
study and pursuit, while they all the while neglect those 
Universals of the Creator in themselves. 

But observe further the emphasis contained in these 
words. God not only knows enos, but is mindful of 
him and never forgets him ; he always has thoughts of 
• good concerning him, and never leaves him. Hence we 
have an example of this described, ■ Isaiah xlix. 14, 15, 16, 
" But Zion said, The Lord hath forgotten me, and my 
Lord hath forsaken me. Can a tf oman forget her suck- 
ing child that she should not have compassion on the 
son of her womb ? yea, they may forget, yet will I not 
forget thee. Behold I have graven thee upon the palms 
of my hands ; thy walls are continually before me." 
Therefore the Lord not only sees " the son of man," or 
sends unto him from afar, but is ever near him and visits 
him, as a friend' does his friend. 

< Who, I repeat, could believe these things ? And yet, 
if they be not believed, they do not come to pass ! where- 
fore, every mask and outside show should be cast off, 
and nothing be left but " man" and the son of. man, if 
any one wishes to be an object of the visitation and 
remembrance of God. For he knows high things afar 
off and will bring them down, but will have respect unto 
the humble. Whereas, man will respect any thing but 
man, and the son of man, though he is his neighbour 
and his own flesh. 

But now, how will these things agree with Christ, 
concerning whom, as we have said, the prophet more 
particularly speaks, according to the testimony of the 
apostle to the Hebrews. And the same apostle com-: 
prehensively shows the same, Philip, ii. 6, 7, " Who 
being in the fbrm of God, thought it not robbery to be 


equal with God : But made himself of no reputation, 
and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made 
man in the likeness of men/ 9 For he was not found as 
a king, or a prince, or any personage of that kind, but 
as " the son of man," and like unto the most common 
among men. And moreover, being made most like unto 
sinners, he became an enos, a man of sorrow and afflic- 
tion, and, in a word, like the most common among us, 
bearing in himself the wrath of God the Father for us, 
being made as the most mean son of earth in the eyes of 
men. So that it did not seem to himself only, but also 
to every one of mortals, that God was neither mindful 
of him, nor visited him. Nay he himself said of him- 
self, Psalm cxlii. 4, " Refuge failed me, and no man 
cared for my soul." And again, Psalm xxxi. 12, "I 
am forgotten : 1 am Jike a broken vessel." 

But David has respect principally unto the time of 
die passion when he began to be weary and to be in 
dread in the garden : for then it was that he was made 
" no man," and was made an enos both in the sight of 
God and in his own sight; and was made a son of 
Adam before men, and nothing was left him but his 
nature and the names of that nature. For, as 1 said, 
enos refers to the soul, and a dam to the body. And 
hence it plainly follows, that enos represents man as he 
is before God, miserable and afflicted ; and a dam man 
as he is before men, vile and despised. 

Behold, therefore, this is the sun of righteousness, 
our King, over whom the prophet wonders, and is lost 
in astonishment. What ! shall this Man illuminate the 
moon and the stars, and create the heavens, yea, found 
them ? Yea, it is to be thus ! even thus ! It is thus that 
he illuminates them, it is thus with these rays that he 
gives light to the world which receives him. — Hence it 
is necessary that the moon and the stars should be 
" founded," lest, being offended at this light of their sun, 
they should turn away and fall from him. And this is 
the reason, why, when he had in so powerful an allegory 
spoken of the moon and the stars, and was expected to 


speak of the sun abo, he seems to turn suddenly away 
and speak of something else ; being carried away with 
rapture into the admiration of the ineffable glory of this 
sun ; showing it forth, and expressing it more by his 
silence than by any power of words. As if he had said, 
Ye have heard of the moon and the stars. But now, 
what shall I 'say of the sun P I am overcome with ama2e- 
ment. There is a sun : but, (who would believe it !) he 
is aft enos, and a son of adam ! Truly God is mar- 
vellous and wonderful in the sight of those who see him 
mindful of this son of man and visiting him. But how 
much move wonderful will he appear to them when they 
know that he has made the same son of man the sun 
which shall illumine all. The former is wonderful, but 
the latter is more than wonderful and altogether incre- 
dible unto men. 

And here, let every one look well to himself. — First 
of all, how much he has passively received, or how full 
he is of, the rays of this sun of righteousness. For, since 
sin is to be destroyed, (which cannot be done without 
pain and shame,) every one must of necessity become an 
Enos and the son of man : he must be in pain within 
and confused without : aqd thus he must fully answer 
to each name and nature enos and adam, and must 
be made like unto Christ, who before was made like unto 
him. For there is nothing that we flee from more than 
the being enos and adam, being always delighted to 
be set off with borrowed feathers and outside appear- 
ances, and to arrogate to ourselves those things which 
belong to the righteous and saints ; that is glorying and 
rejoicing. But the Sun of Righteousness does • not so 
shine : he will not illuminate such, lest they should turn 
against him. But when the man shall have felt himself 
this enos and this adam, let him trust confidently and 
rejoice in the consolation which this verse contains, sing- 
ing and knowing, that the Lord is mindful of an enos, 
and visits a son of adam, as he has shown in Christ 
his sun. 


Ver. 5. — Thou hast made him a little lower by the 
angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 

Oar translators add to this Terse, 4 Thou madest 
him to have dominion over the works of thy hands : 9 
which in the Hebrew, is the first part of the following 

The Hebrew in this passage is, ' Thou hast made 
him a little lower by eloim,' which Hieronymus trans* 
latas, 'by God. 9 Though it is well known, that the 
word slow is applied not only to God, but sometimes 
to princes and judges, who represent God on earth and 
are his vicegerents : as we have it, Exod. xxi. 6, " Then 
his master shall bring him unto the gods (or judges,) 
and he shall be brought unto the door-post." Ami 
again, Gen. vi. 2, " The sons of God saw the daughters 
of men that they were fair : " which sons we must most 
certainly understand to be the sons of the patriarchs ; 
and that these same sons were the giants also. But if 
any one still pertinaciously deny that eloim is any 
where applied to men, I know not how to convince him, 
for in these two places, and in others, God may also 
be understood. — But let us rather follow the authority 
of others who have been received, than contradict. 

Our translator seems rather to understand " by an- 
gels/' than " by God." Because perhaps it seems 
absurd to say to God, ' Thou hast made him a little 
lower by God:' for the person who has made him 
lower must be a person distinct from him who made 
him lower. But all this offence and difficulty are easily 
done away with by adducing that most common figure 
of expression in the scriptures, which frequently ad- 
dresses the second person in the third person : as in 
ft Sam. xiv. 11, where it is said, " Let the king re- 
member the Lord is God." So here, we may under- 
stand David to have said, " Thou hast made him a 
little lower by God : " that is, ' by thyself: ' because, 
there is more reverence expressed by the third person 
than by the second, when we are addressing our su- 


Every single word however of the middle of this 
verse has been discussed by many authors : the word 
"angels)" the words "a little lower," the verb "thou 
hast made him," and the pronoun " him," have all and 
each presented difficulties. Nor have there been wanting 
some who' have understood it of the human nature of 
Christ as compared to angels. I, however, join the 
whole as a consequence to the words that have pre- 
ceded, and that in an uniform and simple sense. And 
therefore, we will take all from all that is consistent 
with such an acceptation, and agreeable to our ideas of 
the passage, and leave all the rest in the books of the 
respective authors. 

This verse undoubtedly explains the preceding : in 
which it is said, that Christ was an Enos in the remem- 
brance of the Lord, and despised of men, but visited of 
God. The meaning of the whole passage is, therefore, 
" Thou didst leave him for a little time, but with great 
glory didst thou gather him : whereby thou didst snow, 
how far thou wast from forgetting him, and that thou 
didst not despise him : as in Psalm xxii. 24, ' For he 
hath not despised the poor nor disregarded his prayer. 9 
And hence the pronoun " him " ought to be referred, 
not to the Son of God, as concerning his divinity, 
(which reference they make who here understand, that 
by his incarnation he was made a little lower than the 
angels,) but as concerning his humanity, in which he 
was made an Enos, a man of sorrow and grief, while 
he was bearing our sorrows ; for he then seemed to be 
forgotten before God and left of him ; as indeed he was 
with respect to his own sensations and the apprehen- 
sions of men. For this Psalm speaks altogether of the 
passion of Christ and of the glory obtained by the 
passion. So that the Apostle clearly sets this forth, 
Hebrews ii. 9, where he saith, " But we see Jesus, who. 
was made a little lower by the angels for the suffering of 
death, crowned with glory and honour." And this " a 
little lower," (Paulominus) has not respect to the dig- 
nity> but to the time. For we have the same adverb, 
Psalm ii. IS, " When his wrath is kindled but a little : " 


that is, hid anger ceases quickly and after a short time. 
And finally, there is nothing intended here to have refe- 
rence to substance, or to the difference, or to the dignity 
of the natures; it refers only to the duration of the suf- 
ferings of Christ 

And now, with respect to the words " thou hast 
made him lower/' as they do not render the Hebrew 
expression, they seem to give us an idea, that he who 
was great was made lower; in the same way as the 
power, or dignity, or opulence, of any one is diminished 
and brought low. But John Reuchiin interprets the 
Hebrew expression, " failed," * forsook,' * was brought 
low : ' as we have it, 1 Kings xvii. " Neither shall the 
cruise of oil fail." And so again afterwards, ver. 16, 
" Neither did the cruise of oil fail." For which it is ma- 
nifest, that it is signified in this passage, that Christ was 
left of God, who ceased to defend him and forsook him ; 
according to his own cry upon the cross in these words, 
Eli eli lama zabatam ! For this " little " is to be 
Understood as signifying that hour concerning which he 
said, Luke xxii. 53, " But this is your hour and the 
power of darkness." Therefore, though he had been, 
Unto this hour, mighty in word and in deed ; yet, for 
this sudden and little moment, namely, for three days, 
he was made low and forsaken of God as to his power, 
^nd was made subject to weakness, to death, and 
even to hell. For what it is to be forsaken and left 
of God, we shall show hereafter in its proper place. 

Wherefore David says the same things of Christ in 
this verse as Isaiah does, ch.liv. 7, 8, of the whole people of 
God, " For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with 
great mercies will 1 gather thee. In a little wrath I hid 
rny face from thee for a moment ; but with everlasting 
kindness will I have mercy upon thee, saith the Lord 
thy Redeemer." And all these things are for our most 
strong consolation : that we may learn under any tribu- 
lation that is rather severe to construe it unto our 
eternal salvation, and not be distressed and think that 
we are left of God for ever ; for we hear, that he is 
mindful of an enos and visits the son of adam, and 
vol. in. 2f 


that however he may bring them low for a time, he will 
come again and visit them, and will crown those who 
have thus suffered a little with glory and honour : as we 
have it, I Pet. i. 6, " Though now if need be ye are in 
• heaviness through manifold temptations." And the 
same apostle saith also again, 1 Pet. v. 1 0, " But the 
God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal 
glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, 
make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, and settle you." 
And Paul, 2 Cor. iv. 16, 17, " For our light affliction which 
is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceed- 
ing and eternal weight of glory : while we look, not at 
the things that are seen, but at the things which are not 

But here we must have faith ; for all this is won- 
derful in our eyes while it is being wrought: as the 
prophet also himself here wonders, saying, " What is 
man?" And this expression, "what is man," may be 
rendered, ' what a man ! that thou shouldst be mindful 
of him.' For the Hebrew word ma sometimes asks a 
question, and sometimes is an expression of wonder : as 
we have it Psalm cxix. 97, "O how I love thy law ! " 
And again afterwards, verse 103, " How sweet are thy 
words unto my taste!" And again, Psalm lxxxiv. 1, 
" How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts ! " 
Nay, in this Psalm also we have, " How excellent is thy 
name in all (he earth ! " And it was not understanding 
this that misled the translator of 2 Kings xx. 8, and 
prevented him from clearly understanding and rendering 
the Hebrew of that passage, 'And Hezekiah said, What 
shall be the sign, that I shall go up into the house of 
the Lord ? ' for he does not there ask for a sign, but 
wonders at the sign which had been given him, saying, 
' What a sign that I shall go up ! ' As if he had said, ' Is 
not this a great and wonderful sign ? ' And so also it 
may not here be improperly rendered, 'What a man 
that thou shouldst be mindful % of him ! ' which may be 
explained thus, Is not this man wonderful? Is not this 
son of man wonderful? Thou art mindful of him while 
thou forgettest him, thou visitest him while thou for- 


sakeat him! But thou does* this, that, having for- 
saltan hitn for a ltttte moment, thou mightest exalt him 
for ever. 

This meaning of the passage being receiv ed, there- 
fore, it wfll be manifest, that the Hebrew me eloim, 
will 1 be more appropriately rendered 'of or by God,' 
than 4 by -the angtls:' because the Psalmist in saying, 
that Christ was made low and deserted, visited and 
forsaken, brought down and exalted by God. — And yet; 
we are not the more on this account to reject the gene- 
rally receded translation. And whether die apostle, 
<or whoever else it was that wrote the Epfede to Ait 
Hebrews,) wrote it in Hebrew or in Greek <HMr it is 
manifest that die apostle himself randy cited the Old 
Testament according to the Hebrew propriety, but most 
frequently according to the translation of the LX'X, ' 
-as we find 'Horn: Hi., which is cited ftpm Psalm xiiL and 
Jfcooi. v:>— However this may be, I say, it is manifest 
that die author of that Episdt both niderttoM arid 
wrote "'by angels," and not " by God: * because, citing 
the testimony of this Psalm, he saith, *Ebr anto the 
angels hath he not out in subjection the world to come, 
whereof we speak. And then he afterwards cites this 
same Psalm, to prove that it is pat in subjection unto 
Christ : for we are not to imagine that the apostle wished 
to say, ' For unto God hath he not put in subjection 
the world to come.' Following, therefore, the sense and 
meaning of die Hebrew, we cannot understand here the 
humiliation of Christ by a comparison with angels; for 
(as Erasmus justly infers) he was not only made lower 
than the angels, but was made like ■ the most common 
among men, as I said, having nothing but the evos and 
the son of man. 

Wherefore, as Christ was made low by God, and was 
no longer with him under the shadow or his power- for 
the three days of Ins passion; what wonder is k, If, 
according to the will of God, he was left byaneels also? 
Thus he himself saith, Mat! xxvi. 53, " Tbinkes t thou 
not that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall 
presently gto me more than ttfdve legions of angeU? n — 



And that thou mayest not think it a light matter for us 
to' be made low of forsaken by angels : thou art to con- 
sider, that God has committed the care of our whole 
salvation to the rtiinistry of angels: ad it is written, 
Psalm xci. 11, " For he shall give his angels charge 
over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall 
bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot 
against a stone." And again, Psalm xxxiv. 7, "The 
angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear 
him, and delivereth them/' And thus also, an angel of 
the Lord led the children of Israel out of Egypt, and 
, placed himself between their camp and that of the 
Egyptians. "And my angel (saith the Lord) shall go be- 
fore you." And so also angels took Lot out of Sodom. 
And an angel preserved the three youths in the fiery 
furnace. And how often in the book of Judges do we 
read of the ministry of angels. And we also read of them 
in the books of Zechariah and Daniel. And hence 
Paul has rightly said, Heb. i. 14, ' That the angels are 
all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister unto them 
who shall be hears of salvation.' It is not a matter of 
wonder, therefore, that the prophet speaks of it as a 
singular matter of astonishment and amazement, that, as 
all the fathers of old time were assisted and preserved 
by angels, these angels should forsake this one Christ 
only, and that he should be left destititute of their 
ministry and consolation. 

. It is with the same feelings also, that Psalm xxii. 4, 
saith, " Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted and 
thou didst deliver them. But I am a worm and no man : 
a reproach of men, and despised of the people." As if 
he had said, They by their faith obtained deliverance in 
their adversities, and were never left of thee unto death : 
but I am forsaken even unto death, and my hope will 
cjome after death, and only then. And such a suffering 
as this does the New Testament require. And there- 
fore, Christ as our head has gone before us : he was left 
and forsaken of God and angels first: and all those who 
follow him, believe in him, and call upon his name, shall 
be forsaken in like manner. Wherefore, as Augustine 


in his letter to Honoratus rightly teaches, touching upon 
Psalm x., the difference between the Old and New Tes- 
tament lies in this, — that in the former, the ancient fa- 
thers were left of God unto the great peril of their lives, 
but never unto death ; but that, in the latter, we are all 
accounted as sheep for the slaughter, and are forsaken 
even unto a most ignominious death. And also, in this 
Psalm, the prophet is speaking of this new and strange 
kind of suffering, and wonders at it in comparison with 
the sufferings of the saints of old. Nay, not only th$ 
angels do not stand by the New Testament sufferer, nor 
minister unto him, as their office is ; but every thing that 
comes under the name and signification of eloim for- 
sakes him, such as, rulers, kings, priests, and electors, 
who clave to him before. 

Thou hast crowned him with glory and honour. 

The prophet beautifully renders contrary for Con- 
trary, glory for enos, honour for adam, and a crown 
for him that was deserted of angels. And, that we may 
clearly understand these things and terms, let us first 
show and prove them. 

" Glory" in this place is properly expressed in the 
Hebrew by gabod, which the Greeks express by Sofa. 
Concerning which, Psalm iii. 3, saith, " Thou art my 
glory." And Psalm vii. 5, " Let him lay my glory in 
the dust." This glory is not only the .pomp of name, 
(or as they term it, fame exalted by praise, thereby wish- 
ing to distinguish glory from praise and the celebration 
of it, as if fame were so called from a mans being ren- 
dered famous) but, glory is the august majesty itself of 
the great and splendid things which we possess, and on 
account of which we are thus celebrated by fame, and 
are proud of ourselves and lifted up. Hence, the Lord 
saith, Matth. vi. 29i " And yet I say unto you, that 
even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one 
of these." And what does he here call glory but that 
pomp, majesty, and abundance of all things, for which 
Solomon was celebrated among all nations ? And hence, 
the Hebtew word glory is formed from & verb which 


signifies to toad or weigh down, as we have seen, 
Psalm iv. 

But honour,* which is expressed in the Hebrew by 
hadar, is rendered in a wonderfully various way every 
where. Sometimes it signifies honour, sometimes orna- 
ment, sometimes beauty, sometimes magnificence, some- 
times splendour, and sometimes dignity. Psalm civ. 1, 
it is said, " Thou art clothed with praise and ornament." 
Psalm xcvi. it is said, " Praise and beauty :" which two 
nouns are rendered, Psalm xlv. 3, thus, " With thy 
comeliness and thy beauty." Psalm cxlv. 5, it is " The 
glorious honour of thy majesty." Psalm ex. 3, " In the 
beauties of the saints." Prov. xiv. 28, " In the multi- 
tude of people is the king's honour." All these pas- 
sages have the same Hebrew word hadar or h^dar, 
which are both derived from the same verb hadar, 
which, according to Reuchlin, signifies, has adorned, has 
honoured, has glorified. 

From all which it follows, that " honour" in this 
passage, when properly rendered from the Hebrew noun, 
signifies the great pomp of a potentate, which consists in 
the multitude of those who reverence and adore him ; 
and who are subject to him, serve him, obey him, and 
assist him : for these are the ornament, the decoration, 
the splendour, the magnificence, the beauty, and the 
dignity of a king. So that glory and honour are as it 
were different kinds of pomp. Glory, is that which 
comes from the king, and is diffused among the people : 
and honour, is the people being moved by this glory, 
and coming unto him and acknowledging him. Hence 
it is said, Levit. xix. 34, " Thou shalt rise up before the 
hoary head." And these two pomps mutually increase 
each other. The gloiy allures many, that they may ho- 
nour the person : and they, being thus allured to honoui 
him, this increases his glory. Hence we sing* 4 Glorj 
and honour unto God for ever and ever/ &c. And sc 
on the other frand those two evils enos and the son ol 
adam mutually increase each other: for he that is un- 
mindful of God is made wretched and miserable ; and 
then the same person immediately becomes a son oi 


Adam, and is deserted, because nothing is said of him, 
and no one will honour him concerning whose name 
nothing is said ; and thus as he is nothing in himself, so 
he is deserted by all. 

" Thou hast crowned him/ 9 — This is said metapho- 
rically, and is an expression taken from a crown which 
is perfect on every side and covers every part of the head 
which it surrounds : and it means the same as " thou 
hast compassed him about :" as we have it, 1 Sam. xxiii. 
36, " And they compassed David and his men about in 
the manner of a crown." And Psalm v. 12, " With 
favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield." 

Christ, therefore, being made an enos for us, being 
forsaken and afflicted on aB sides and by all, now has the 
kingdom over all things, and a dominion celebrated with 
praise and fame, and is now delighted and safely resting 
in all things. He is now honoured, adored, and sought 
after by all. He that was made low, or forsaken by all, 
is now surrounded by all these things out of all nature : 
so that there is not one creature which does npt know 
him, .or does not honour him in some way, for the Gospel 
is preached tp every creature for his honour. 

And again, to his glory every knee shall bow, of 
things in heaven, and things under the heaven, and things 
in hell. And this crown of glory and honour, that is of 
all creatures, never has been given to any other nor ever 
will be. They are in part glorified and honoured ; but 
no one has fdi things but he who has all things, who was 
" made a little lower" by all, who had glory and honour 
from no part, but met with affliction and irreverence 
from all, that for these sufferings he miffht be crowned 
with glory and honour to all eternity. But this crown 
of glory and honour is not yet completed : as Paul saith, 
1 Cor. xv. 24, 25, " But now we do not yet see all things 
put under him, for he must reign till he hath put all 
things under his feet." And this is now going on, and 
will gp on until the final judgment. But, in the mean 
time, many still remain who will not glorify and honour 
him, and who resist this completion of his crown. 


Ver. 6. — Thou hast made him to have dominion over 
the works of thy hands, thou hast put all things in sub- 
jection under his feet. 

This is that verse explained in the Hebrew in which 
the glory and honour of Christ are set forth. His glory 
is, his being Lord of all things : and thus you see that 
his glory is the majesty of the things which he possesses ; 
.as we have said. And his honour is, that all things are 

{mt in subjection under his feet, all honour him, acknow- 
edge him, turn to him, and are dependent on his nod. 
And each pomp, both of his glory and his honour, is 
beautifully set forth in this verse ; while both the Lord 
and all that is under him are described by the words 
" thou hast given him dominion," and, " thou hast put 
in subjection :" the one expression of which, sets forth 
the Lord and his glory ; the other the things put under 
him and his honour. And these same two things are 
thus set forth, Psalm xlv., the first of them thus, ver. 3, 
" In thy comeliness and thy beauty, ride prosperously, 
because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness, and 
thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things." The 
next particular is shown in these words, ver. 5, " Thine 
arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies ; 
whereby the people fall under thee." 

This, therefore, is the prince and ruler of the kings 
of the earth, and the king of all dominions and poten- 
tates of the earth. For compare them to this king. 
Over what are they set ? Certainly over the works of 
the hands of God: but to no one of them are all things 
put in subjection. For "the works of thy hands" have 
not much to do with all those sensual titles of king- 
. doms, provinces, and peoples, and with all those external 
shows of images, insignia, and monuments, in which the 
rulers and kings of the earth glory and boast themselves. 
The kingdom of Christ is preached with a small title, 
and without any external signs and pomp, though it is 
infinite and external. " The works of thy hand," says 
David. And not the heavens and the earth only are com- 
prehended in this title; but every thing that God has 


created is put in subjection unto Christ; as Paul saith 
1 Con xv. 27, * But when he saith, All things are put 
under him, it is manifest that nothing is excepted but he 
who did put all things under him.' — For did the Psalmist 
say in a vain way, " Thou hast put all things in subjec- 
tion under his feet," without adding also, u Thou hast 
set him over the works of thy hands ? " He has indeed 
omitted " works of thy hands" in mentioning the sub- 
jection, and the word " all things " in mentioning his 
having dominion ; but he wished all this to be under- 
stood together. Or, does not the Psalmist, in detestation 
of all pride and ambition, speak thus, to show, that even 
he to whom all things were put in subjection by God, 
did not boast in the honour and title of being set over 
all things ; and to make it appear that the possession 
was greater than the title? Whereas men, on the con- 
trary, are generally carried away with the titles of things 
only, when ruling over even the least of things. 

We are certainly to weigh all these things in an 
apostolic way; and to understand, that David describes 
Christ as not going about to seek this dominion himself, 
but as being set over it of God ; that we may learn not 
to assume honours to ourselves, and know, that none 
receive honour but those who are called, as was Aaron, 
Hebrews v. 4. And this is also done, that thou mayest 
wonder, that so mighty a dominion is ascribed unto 
Christ in these few words, and that ambition is cut at in 
almost every word ; no high-sounding word at all being 
used, as is the case in all the decrees of men. As in this 
way, — * All things throughout the world are committed 
unto us,' &c. And ' Who has committed to his key- 
bearing Peter all laws, both of heavenly and earthly do- 
minion,' &c. For it is thus that the bulls swell them- 
selves out, and 

Roll from their wide-swollen throat, the thundering 

But David here says, thou hast " set," and tl him," 
and " over," and, " the works of thy hands." — Observe 
here how wonderfully he speaks of the kingdom of 


Christ. With what small, modest, and humble, and yet 
solid, words he sets forth that inestimable kingdom. 
Though, in the Hebrew, the words "thou hast set nim," 
are " thou hast made him to have dominion. 1 ' As Peter 
also speaks, Acts ii. 36, " God hath made that Jesus 
both Lord and Christ." As also it is said to the sun, 
Gen. i. 16, ' that he should rule the day :' or as it is 
said Psalm cxxxvi. 8, ' the sun to have dominion over 
the day/ 

And he says beautifully also, " the works of thy 
hands :" thus commending and setting forth the posses- 
sion of Christ without any external appearance. For it 
is the custom with man, to command and have domi- 
nion over those things only which are high, great, and 
many ; and, in a word, over those things from which 
they can gain honour, pleasure, and advantage. But 
those things which are vile and low, and which want 
their assistance and help, they can with much unconcern 
permit to be ruled by, and under the dominion of, 
others. But Christ, the Lord of all things, possesses all 
that can be called the works of God, whether they be 
weak, necessitous, and contemptible, or, powerful, 
- opulent, and honourable. He is not a king that reigns 
with any respect of persons ; but whatever is a creature 
of God he acknowledges to be his, and holds all with- 
out any difference. 

Wherefore, the kingdom of Christ is such a king- 
dom, as cannot be compared to any other ; and no other 
can be found which could stand in its place. For there 
is no ruler among those most opulent ambitious ones, 
who would wish to command and rule over the weak, the 
-needy, and the ignominious, from whom nothing of 
profit can accrue to himself. For these words, " the 
works of thy hands," and " all things," offend all, and 
they do not wish to know what such words mean. — Of 
the number of these were the popes of old, who arro- 
gated all things to themselves, but did not seek to rule 
* all things ' and ' the works of the hands of God,' but, 
all things which pleased them : and they chose out to 
themselves certain works of God, regarding nothing at 


all about the rest, of which they ought to have taken 
care, though included in * the works of God/ and the 
' all things. 9 It is necessary, therefore, that the eye 
should be most pure, and most free from all respect of 
persons and external appearance, distinguishing and un- 
derstanding rightly all the works of the hands of God. 
For in these works the Pope differs nothing from the 
layman, the emperor from the beggar, the enemy from 
die friend, the wise from the unwise, the holy from the 
sinner, the jound from die sick, or the living from the 
dead ; die Lord of all is die same, and they ail equally 
belong to him. 

Rejoice, therefore, O Christian, and rejoice every 
one who knows himself to be the work of God ; these 
things are all said for thy strong consolation, if thou be- 
lieve that Christ is appointed Lord of all things. For if 
thine enemies* even from afar, plan any evil against thee, 
against whom, I pray thee, do they plan it? against thee 
or agunst Christ? For both they and thou belong to 
Christ Fear not therefore ; he is present both here and 
there: he sees what they plan against thee: and he 
watches with neater care over thee, than thou doest 
over thyself. — -For dost thou think that the thing pos- 
sessed can have a greater care over itself than the pos- 
sessor has over it? What care does the gold in the chest, 
or in the purse, take of itself? Does not the master of 
die house take care of that chest, and guard it every 
hour against thieves and robbers? Is the gold taken 
from itself, or from its possessor ? And which does the 
thief the more grievously offend, the gold or the pos- 
sessor ? Dost thou think, then, that the miser shall be 
galled at the loss of his money, and not Christ hurt at an 
iqjury done to any of his possessions ? If not, how 
shall he be faithful unto him who has pat all things in 
subjection under his feet ? And if they kill thee, burn 
thee, injure thee, criminate thee, and cast thee out, I ask 
thee, (if thou be in subjection under him,) to whom do 
they the injury? Whose property do they destroy? 
Thine, or Christ's ? 

Oh, how great is our unbelief, which, on account of 


its ungodliness .and blindness, cannot understand these 
consolations and this great security ! There is no pro- 
tector or owner wanting to us, but it is faith that is 
wanting to believe *that we are his possession. For it is 
above all things the word of faith that thou hearest, 
when it is said, " Thou hast put all things in subjection 
under his feet," and " Thou hast made him to have do- 
minion over the works of thy hands." 

And if thou say, But I am afraid that my Lord will 
destroy me, because I am a great sinner, and unworthy 
to be possessed and owned by him in so happy and glo- 
rious a way, — He will not destroy thee if thou confess 
that thou art his, and that he is thy Lord. For both 
sinners and saints belong to him, and all are the works 
of his hands. 4 Let every tongue (saith the Apostle, 
Philip, ii. 11,) c6nfess, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the 
glory of God the Father.' And Rom. x. 9, he saith, 
" That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord 
Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath 
raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." By this 
confession and faith, I say, if thou be a sinner, thou 
shalt not only be accounted righteous, but shalt be 
saved. God will damn those rather, who, though they 
arc his creatures, will not receive him as their Lord ; as 
Luke says, chap. xix. 27, " But those mine enemies, 
which would not that I should jeign over them, bring 
them here and slay them before my face." For these will 
not be put under him, and therefore they are thus com- 
pelled to be put under him. We have not a king that is 
a cruel exactor, but a Saviour; and especially of those 
who are oppressed, either with punishments or with 
sins. For in such, there is nothing left but the honour of 
the work of God : and the works of God are his 
proper possession. 

Wherefore, even if thou sin and fall, yet, despair 
not of Christ, for thou hast not sinned thyself out of his 
kingdom, unless thou cease to be the work of God. But 
if thou acknowledge his kingdom, and say with Wisdom, 
xv. 2, " For if we sin we are thine, knowing thy 
power," (&c. ; he will not send thee away, nor wilt thou 


be sent away without a confidence in his mercy. He will 
acknowledge thee to be his possession, if thou acknow- 
ledge him to be thy God and Lord. For this is what 
Isaiah, chap. i. 3, charges the ungodly with r " The ox 
knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib ; bat 
Israel doth not know me, my people doth not consider." 
Therefore Christ is for us, set over all things, that he 
may in all things help us, and that we may in all things 
flee unto him, whether under sin, in death, in life, or in 
righteousness. For whether we live or whether we die, 
we are the Lord's (saith the Apostle, Rom.xiv. 7, 8 ;) for 
none of us livcth unto himself, and no man dieth unto 
himself* For whether we live we live unto the Lord, or 
whether we die we die unto the Lord." 

Ver. 7 aind 8. — All sheep and oxen, yea, and the 
beast of the field; the fowl of the air, ami the fish of the 
sea, which pass through the waves of the sea. 

These two verses seem to have given occasion to 
our translator and others to understand this Psalm of 
man only, and to translate the word eloim * angels. 9 
Which opinion many eminent fathers also follow : being 
induced so to do from what we read Gen. i. that, after 
man was formed, these three kinds of living creatures 
were put in subjection to him. And such have indeed 
something of plausibility for the defence of their opi- 
nion : because, the prophet seems in these verses exactly 
to set forth all those three kinds of creatures, the domi- 
nion over which was given to man ; and to signify, that 
the " all things" before mentioned, only meant the 
beasts of the earth, the heaven, and the sea. And in- 
deed no very great deal would seem to be given unto 
Christ by this dominion over these beasts being given 
unto him ; seeing that, human kings have even dominion 
over men. 

But Paul stands directly opposed to such an accep- 
tation of the passage, not only in his Epistle to the 
Hebrews, (which perhaps some may deny to be Paul's,) 
but also 1 Cor. xv. 87, where he says, " For he hath 
put all things under his feet." As, therefore, the mean- 


mg of the Word of God, and of the scriptures, must be 
one, simple, and uniformly the same ; let us not (as they 
say) make the scriptures to have a waxen nose that will 
turn any way. It is just, therefore, that the sense which 
Paul puts on the passage should be preferred to the 
sense given to it by any or all of the fathers, whether 
Ambrose, Augustine, Athanasius, or Hieronymus, &c. 

I say these things, that no one, after the man- 
ner of the learned scholiasts, should immediately 
follow as an oracle what he may chance to read in 
any one of the eminent fathers ; as some do and have 
done, who, by this means, have made the scriptures to 
be nothing more than as many cross threads; thus 
causing us to have as many different meanings to them 
as there are syllables. The holy fathers therefore are 
sometimes to be left to go according to their acceptation 
of a scripture, and, according to their feelings, to expa- 
tiate upon the holy scriptures out of the beaten path. 
But a theologian, who wishes to search into the pure 
and genuine meaning of the word, must consult the 
scriptures themselves, and thus judge of all things : as 
Augustine teaches in many places, and as Paul himself 
commands us, saying, " Prove all things ; hold fast that 
which is good," 1 Thess. v. S 1 . 

These two verses, therefore, understood in this way, 
would not only not seem to ascribe much unto Christ, 
but not even unto man : for it is written Gen. i. that to 
him was given dominion over the earth also, and over 
all trees, herbs, and productions of the earth ; which, 
here, is not even ascribed unto Christ. 

I confess that the passage has some degree of diffi- 
culty in it. Augustine with his advocates has recourse to 
an allegory, but does not even by that extricate himself. 
'For, as David had said before, "all things," and, "the 
works of his hands," no just reason can be given, why, 
in explaining those " things," he only mentions oxen, 
sheep, fowls, and fishes, (whether we understand by the 
allegory that these things are subjected to righteous or 
sinners.) But these are not all those things which are 
put m subjection under the feet of Christ, though they 



are comprehended in those " all things." Why then are 
all these beasts mentioned as parts of those " things/ 9 
and not the rest? Why was it not enough to say " ail 
dungs" or " the works of his hands." (For we must un- 
derstand these sheep, oxen, birds, fishes, and cattle, 
literally.) I here confess my ignorance, and have 
nothing to say. 1 will, however, propose some things 
to exercise the thoughts of others, and that is all I 
can do. 

What if the prophet wished to explain those things 
which are subjected to man in general, on account of 
the contentions and stiff-necked, and especially the 
Jews, who above all men resist the kingdom of Christ ? 
And what if he mentioned these in particular, that no 
one might insolently say, that God cannot contradict 
himself, who, in the beginning, Gen. i„ subjected all 
these things unto man, to be ruled by him in a temporal 
dominion ? For such, using die scripture, Gen. i. as a 
pretext, will either deny that all things are put in sub- 
jection unto Christ, and say that the scripture is to be 
thus understood ; or else, they will revile die universal 
dominion of Christ But all such craft is to be met and 
opposed by this answer. — That all things are so put in 
subjection unto Christ, that not only those things which 
were before put in subjection unto man are not excepted, 
but are put in subjection also together with the men 
themselves. So that, even if men will not be subjected 
unto Christ, (which, nevertheless they certainly are,) they 
might yet know, that all those things which are subject 
unto him are subject unto them, and that he has power 
over all things, which are theirs, without being hindered 
therein, how much soever they may resist him. 

And again, there is no one offence that fights more 
against faith in the dominion of Christ, than that which 
arises from the ungodly, especially kings and great ones, 
and their opulence in those things which are subjected 
unto them. So that, it was necessary for David to say 
and explain that all these things were subject to Christ, 
that no one, from being offended, might refuse to believe 
it, when he sees the ungodly, especially die great, not 


apparently subject onto' him. . For it is easy to* believe 
tlj^t all other thipgs are subject unto him, except those 
things which the wicked possess. For all these things 
. seem, as to all appearance, to be put in subjection unto 
them: concerning which Psalm cxliv. IS, 14, saith, that 
, their garners afford all manner of store, and that their 
oxen are strong to labour. As if the prophet had said, 
Be not offended, my brother, at my having said, ' that 
all things are subject unto Christ/ for it is only in his 
enemies that thou seemest to see' the contrary ; there is 
nothing in the rest that seems to resist ; therefore, know 
.thou, that all which the ungodly have are also subject 
unto Christ 

And, to strengthen this understanding of the pas- 
sage, shows the powerful adjective " all." As if he had 
said, There is no one thing even of those things which 

• belong to the rebellious and ungodly, (who will not wil- 
lingly be subject to him,) that is not put in subjection 
under him. W herefore, the birds of the heaven, and the 
fishes of the sea, are added by way of fulness of expres- 
sion. As if he had said, All the things of man are 
subject unto Christ, whether they be those which he 
possesses himself, or those which were put in subjection 
to him, Gen. i. ; for Christ is Lord of all things. 

Nor indeed will it be wide from the intent of the 
Psalm, if any one shall consider, that that other confi- 
dence of the Jews is laid prostrate by this verse : which 
was, their believing, that they served God when they of- 
fered him sacrifices and burnt-offerings of animals which 
they considered to be their own. As Stephen, Acts vii. 

' charges and refutes them from Isaiah, chap. lxvi. ; say- 
ing, that they presumed to build to him a temple, 
whereas all the materials of which the temple was built 
were his before. And so also we may imagine, that here, 
when the prophet sets forth a new king alone to be wor- 
shipped with glory and honour, he does it, that they 
may not presume to imagine, that they shall worship 
him with the beasts that they may slay. For to whom 
" all things " are put in subjection, even sheep and oxen 
also, and all things that were ever given unto man, are 


put in subjection. What, therefore, can they give 
unto him, whose are ail things which they have or 

And this same confidence from a similar cause, is 
condemned in similar words, Psalm 1., " I will not 
reprove thee for thy sacrifices :" that is, my being at va- 
riance with thee is not on account of thy sacrifices* 
And why, * because thy burnt-offerings are continually 
before me:' that is, thou hast no need to offer me 
them, for they are already always before me. " I will 
take no bullock out of thy house, nor he-goats oat of 
thy fold. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the 
cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls upon 
the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are mine. 
If I were hungry I would not tell thee : for the world is 
mine and the nilness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of 
bulls or drink the blood of goats ? " And then follows 
the true worship, " Offer unto God thanksgiving, and 
pay thy vows unto the Most High. And call upon me 
in the day of trouble : and I will deliver thee, and thou 
shalt glorify me." And at the conclusion of the Psalm 
he saith, " The sacrifice of praise shall honour me, and 
that is the way wherein I will show the salvation of 

And now, see whether Asaph did not suck nearly 
the whole of this Psalm out of Psalm viii. For he 
speaks of the praising of God under tribulation (as this 
Psalm also does,) to the contempt of all sacrifices of 
cattle, which cattle he says are God's already, and not 
man's, to whom they were given, Gen. i. And this he 
does, that men may know, that all things are Christ's, 
and that they cannot serve him by offering those things, 
imagining them to be their own. 

Here, therefore, we have Christ described as having 
suffered, as being crowned, and now preached and be- 
lieved in : which Christ, and the things concerning him, 
the title of the Psalm, u in the wine-presses," signified 
at the beginning. And therefore, the Psalmist, that he 
may inculcate his true worship, which is nothing more 

VOL. III. 2 G 


than frith, praise, declaring his name, confession, &c, 
now repeats the first verse. Saying, 

Ver. 9.— O Lord our Lord, how admirable is thy 
tiame in all the earth! 

For it a hard and difficult matter to believe, that 
this ekos and this sod of aqam is of so great glory and 
dignity* And therefore, the Psalmist admonishes, that 
it is to be continually repeated and assiduously incul- 
cated. For it is a firm and fixed truth, that God is mind- 
till, that he visits, and that he crowns ; but it is those 
ofily who by shame, by unmindfulness, and by solitude, 
are reduced to nothing and to the greatest extremity. 
For such as this. Psalm describes Christ as being when 
exalted, such, the Psalmist would have us know, all 
those must be whom Christ will exalt. Wherein he 
plainly shows, on what persons the eyes of Christ are 
opened and fixed : namely, " The eyes of the Lord 
aw upon the righteous :" (that is, those who are nothing 
in this life, either in their own eyes or in the eyes of 
Others :) because he regardeth the low things both of 
the heavens and of the earth. And this is the way with 
his mercy, that his name may be great throughout all 
die earth. 




What an astonishing variety of interpretations are 
given of the title of this Psalm ! One understands that 
the death of Absalom is here signified, another the 
death of Goliah, another a musical instrument, another 
the secret judgment or counsel of David, another youth, 
another the singer of the Psalm, and another a some- 


thing else ! He who wishes to have a further knowledge 
of all the different interpretations, let him consult 
Lyranus, Burgen6is and Reuchlin. 

I, for my part, as far as I can collect the signification 
from di6 scope of the whole Psalm, shall follow the title, 
but not the interpretation, of Burgensis ; who says, that 
almuth, which is translated for the secrets, signifies, 
according to the real meaning of the Hebrew word, 
* youth.' This Psalm is a certain general thanksgiving, 
exultation, exhortation, and prayer, full of sweet feelings 
and affections; and is concerning the conquering of 
enemies, and their being conquered ; all which cannot 
be applicable to any thing but to die people of God, 
engaged in the midst of enemies, warring with .them, 
conquering them, and triumphing over them ; and it 
speaks bow of the past and the present, and also of the 
future. Wherefore. I doubt not at all. that this Psalm 

had its title from the people of Christ, especially martyrs, 
and that it speaks in their person. And that we may 
adduce some proof of this, let us proceed to speak upon 
the Hebrew title itself: which is thus, — 

iamnazkah: almuth laben: Misitoa le da bid. 

That lamxazeah signifies * To victory' we have 
fully shown before. And that mismor le dabid 
signifies, ' a Psalm of David' is quite clear. It remains 
therefore only, that we dwell upon almuth laben. 

If, with Hieronymus you divide almuth laben into 
two words, (which Lyra says cannot be done,) it will 
signify * Upon death,' or * To death.' And hence, some 
here understand the death of Goliah, and others the 
death of Absalom. But if you make it one word, it is 
a noun derived from the verb a lam, which signifies, 
1 has hidden :' from which verb, a young man and a 
young woman are called elkm and alma: because they 
are educated and brought up in tents, as it is dangerous 
for them, being of that tender age, to wander abroad in 
the world, and to be exposed to aH its enticements. 

2 c 2 


And hence almuth will signify ' a youth/ or .' the state 
of youth ;' that age, which, on account of its tender state, 
is hidden, and brought up religiously in secret. Thus, 
Jacob is described as a plain simple man dwelling in 
tents ; but, on the other hand, Esau is represented as a 
man skilled in hunting and a cultivator of the ground. 
And hence, from this custom and way of education, 
common usage among the Hebrews has called young 
women or maidens, almoth, (that is ' hidden,') as in 
Isaiah vii. 14, ' Behold a virgin (or maiden) shall con- 
ceive, &c. 9 

But David here studiously implies in this title, some 
wonderful or uncommon youth, when he particularly 
calls them la ban ; that is, ' of the Son,' or ' to the 
Son/ Whereas, to have young men or young women, 
is peculiar to a father, or to a grandfather, or at farthest 
to a brother, or some tutor or instructor. For what 
son is there, who, as a son, can have young , men and 
young women to educate and bring up in secret? Where- 
fore it is manifest, that David means Christ, who, by a 
new miracle, doing away with all carnal generation in 
his nativity, is a Son only, the father of none according 
to the flesh, and yet, beginning a spiritual generation, by 
a new nativity of the Spirit. He is the father of many 
sons and daughters whom he educates and brings up in 
the secret place of faith, so instructing them, that they 
may not be wise in those things which are open, but in 
those things which are hidden : as it is said Psalm xxxi. 
20, " Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence 
from the pride of man. 9 ' 

Wherefore it is most likely that Almoth, (uniting both 
significations in one) signifies the new creature of the 
Gospel, the offspring of grace, the youth of baptism, 
the people of the New Testament, and the truly * hidden 
ones of the Son; that is, the faithful, the obedient ones 
of Christ, whose life lies hidden, under death, their sal- 
vation under the cross, and their glory under shame ; 
for thus does Christ hide them in the world. These 
therefore are they whom David, a man full of the Spirit, 


conceived in his mind to represent under the name and 
similitude of youths or virgins who are educated at 
home and in secret. 

And there is this peculiar praise attached to the people 
of the Jews among other things, that they always kept 
themselves free from the pursuits of merchandize and 
trade, being content with their own domestic productions, 
like their fathers of old. For, as those other nations and 
men, who travel and wander about and see the manners 
and cities of many different peoples, are rendered polished 
and polite, -(as they term it ;) so also do they imbibe 
many of the worst of examples, and introduce them 
among others ; as Corinth, Syracuse, Tyre, and Alex- 
andria have borne sufficient witness, (to say nothing about 
Rome,) and as all the great emporiums of the world at 
this day abundantly prove also : and therefore rightly 
did God drive the Canaanites, (that is, merchants and 
traders) for the most part out of the land. He is suffi- 
ciently civil and polished who knows the law of his God, 
and who serves God purely : to do which, seclusion, 
secrecy, and shunning the busy multitude of men are 
absolutely necessary, and especially for the younger ones 
Hence a certain gentile writer says, ' I always come 
away from the worldly society of men worse than I was 
when I went into it' " And another says, i Friends are 
the thieves of time.' And yet again, Bernard says, * I am 
never less alone than when alone. 9 I would not there- 
fore consign the whole of this our life to solitude : for 
we have it proved by the most horrible examples, and 
by the authority of the most illustrious fathers, that 
nothing is more perilous to the age of youth than solitude. 
And yet, on the other hand, there is the same peril in the 
society of the multitude. 

What shall we here say then ? Why this — that the 
youth have a domestic teacher and friend, in the 
sight of whom, he may say, do, and leave undone 
all things, in fear. This is, to be almuth; that is, 
to be well instructed at home, and, when he has 
been well instructed, and is called* forth into the office 
and duty of ruling the people, then let him do that in 


effect, irhich befbte he did in affection; then let him 
of himself despise those things which are seen, and 
teach others to despise them, which, hitherto, he despised 
by the teaching of another, or was taught to despise. It 
Was for this kind of Almtith that monasteries and uni- 
versity studies Were primarily instituted. 

Nor will I reject this understanding of the matter.— 
That these * secret' things are to be considered as applying 
hot ohly to this spiritual part of the Church, but also 
to the opposite part, the enemies. That is, that David 
sings not only of the state and work of the spiritual and 
hidden people, but of thefif spiritual victory over their 
enemies which is obtained in secret : because the former 
fight spiritually, and the latter are spiritually conquered.